Leigh Wood vs Josh Warrington

Leigh Wood vs. Josh Warrington Preview: “He’s never been in a boring fight, neither have I”.

An all-British affair at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield on 7th October sees Leigh Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) defends his WBA championship belt against Josh Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs).

Nottingham native Wood became a two-time champion in his last fight, gaining revenge over Mauricio Lara in Manchester in May to reclaim his WBA belt having lost to the Mexican by stoppage just three months earlier.

His opponent Warrington is also a two-time IBF champion, retaining his title in 2022 with a seventh-round TKO victory over Kiko Martinez, only to lose to a majority decision in his first defence against Mexican Luis Alberto Lopez in December 2022.

Local rivalry

Sheffield provides a local neutral location for Nottingham native Wood, and Leeds-based Warrington, and both fighters are confident that the home crowd will add an extra layer of excitement to an already compelling contest.

“I’m extremely excited for October 7,” said Wood.

“In terms of the followings we’ve got, the football clubs and the cities, this is arguably the biggest British rivalry in the sport. For me, it doesn’t really get any bigger. Our styles will gel and that should make for a very exciting and entertaining fight. It should go down in British history. I know it will be quite hostile with both sets of fans battling it out vocally, but it should make for a great night. ”

Warrington was equally buoyant, adding “It doesn’t get much better than a domestic dust up for a world title. I’m obsessed in becoming a three-weight world champion, to get back on top and that is going to show on the night. I will bring an army of fans to Sheffield and the atmosphere will be special.”

From the first bell

Styles make fights is a perennial boxing cliché, but Wood believes both fighters’ track record of being as game for a scrap as they come will make this encounter essential viewing for boxing fans.

“He’s never really been in a boring fight – but neither have I. This fight will be all-action and the fans should be in for a great night” said Wood.

Leigh-thal has been on a remarkable run of entertaining fights, with his notable last-gasp knockout of Michael Conlan in 2021 a contender for both fight of the year, and knockout of the year. His duology against Lara was a gruelling affair, with Wood losing by seventh-round stoppage cornerman Ben Davidson threw in the towel, having recovered from a knockdown in the second. In the rematch, he systematically dismantled Lara in impressive fashion to retake his crown.

Warrington had his own duology with Lara, losing by ninth-round TKO in February 2021, before an unfortunate draw in the rematch after an accidental head clash opened a nasty cut on Lara. His sizzling performance against Martinez to win back the IBF silenced a lot of critics, only for the forward momentum to be derailed after coming up against a fantastic performance from Luis Alberto Lopez.

The Mexican challenger put on a hugely gritty display and easily the best of his career to hand Warrington only his second-ever loss. While undoubtedly the most challenging moment of Warrington’s career with just one win in four fights, he has still demonstrated enough desire and toughness to suggest that he will be a dangerous conundrum Wood has to solve.

Matchroom Chairman Eddie Hearn has echoed Wood’s expectation of fireworks “Leigh wood vs. Josh Warrington for the WBA Featherweight World Title is an absolute barnstormer – a domestic scrap between two brilliant, aggressive fighters that will deliver from the first bell. Tune in live and exclusive October 7 only on DAZN.”

What’s at stake?

It’s been a turbulent couple of years for Wood and Warrington, with high-profile wins and losses and both fighters have been bullish in their assessment of the importance of this fight to their careers.

Wood said “Josh has some great wins on his record and is obviously a two-time world champion, but this is a fight that he cannot lose.”

“This is one that I need to win, so I can look back on with pride and soak up all the good memories. This is a must-win, for sure.”

Warrington suggested that Wood’s confidence ahead of the fight might suggest he’s overlooking the threat posed by ‘The Leeds Warrior’, “Leigh has had a good run and put some good wins together but I just don’t believe he can live with me. I hope he thinks my best days are behind me, on October 7 he’ll find out. AND THE NEW!”

The WBA had previously ordered Wood to face top-ranked contender Otabek Kholmatov prior to granting him a voluntary defence against Warrington, and the winner would be required to face the Uzbekistani within 120 days of the fight on 7th October.

However, it is widely believed that the winner could more likely face two-time super featherweight champion Joe Cordina, so there is plenty to play for.

Leigh Wood vs. Josh Warrington Fight details

7th October at the Utilita Stadium, Sheffield.

Watch live on DAZN.

Event to start at 7pm (UK), with main event expected from 10pm.

Full card (subject to change)

  • Leigh Wood vs Josh Warrington – for WBA featherweight title
  • Terri Harper vs Cecilia Braekhus – for WBA and WBO super-welterweight title
  • Kieron Conway vs Linus Udofia
  • Hopey Price vs Connor Coghill
  • Nico Leivars vs Ryan Walker
  • Junaid Bostan vs Corey McCulloch
  • Cameron Vuong vs TBA
  • Koby McNamara vs Francisco Rodriguez