- Mauricio Lara is the favorite at -250.
- Leigh Wood is the underdog at +210.
- This will be Wood's second WBA World Featherweight Title defense.
The WBA World Featherweight Title showdown between defending champion Leigh Wood (26-2) and challenger Mauricio Lara (25-2-1) will finally happen this Saturday, February 18, 2023, inside the Nottingham Arena in England. The two were initially scheduled to fight each other in September 2022, but it was postponed and rescheduled due to an injury to Woods.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 13, 2023
Despite being the defending champion and having homecourt advantage on his side, Wood is still the underdog in boxing odds at +210 against Lara, who is the favorite in BetMGM’s online sportsbook at -250. This boxing betting line is also surprising as the Mexican hasn’t won a boxing title yet in his career thus far.
Leigh Wood Recent Fight Result
Leigh Wood started his professional boxing career in October 2011 and beat Chuck Jones on points. Since then, he piled up 10 more wins, including four stoppages, to obtain his first title shot in February 2014, where he faced Gavin McDonnell for the vacant British Boxing Board of Control Super Bantamweight Title.
However, McDonnell defeated Wood, handed him his first career loss with a sixth-round TKO finish, and denied him his first boxing title. That loss ignited Wood to accumulate five successive wins over Martin Mubiru, Janis Puksins, Laszlo Fekete, Isaac Owusu and Josh Wale from May 2014 to October 2015.
This streak allowed “Leigh-tal” to compete for another boxing title, this time for the vacant British Boxing Board of Control Midlands Area Featherweight Title against Lee Glover in March 2016. Wood made quick work of Glover with a second-round TKO stoppage to capture his inaugural championship.
Following the victory over Glover, the Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom native stringed up six more wins to his tally after beating Simas Volosinas, Reynaldo Mora, Rafael Castillo, Abraham Bonsu, Ryan Doyle and David Joyce. These triumphs also gave Wood the Commonwealth Boxing Council Featherweight and WBO European Featherweight Titles.
In February 2020, James Dickens snapped Wood’s 12-fight streak with a majority decision win to snatch the WBO European Featherweight Title from him. But Wood immediately got another title opportunity in his next fight and fought Reece Mould for the vacant British Boxing Board of Control Featherweight Title in February 2021.
Wood scored a ninth-round TKO of Mould to capture his third career boxing title. Five months later, in July 2021, the 34-year-old finally got his big break when he challenged Can Xu for the WBA World Featherweight Title. Wood fully capitalized and stopped Xu in the 12th round via TKO to become the new champion.
The first title defense of Wood was also a massive success for Wood after he picked up another 12th-round TKO against previously unbeaten challenger Michael Conlan in his last fight last March 2022. This upcoming fight with Mauricio Lara will be Wood’s second official title defense.
Fight of the year? 🤝
KO of the year? 😤
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 13, 2022
Mauricio Lara Recent Fight Result
Mauricio Lara made his professional boxing debut in October 2015 but was defeated by Julio Carabino via a split decision. After that bad start to his career, the Mexican went on to win 11 straight times, including six stoppages from July 2016 to March 2018. Eliot Chavez ended this streak in May 2018 with a first-round knockout.
After sustaining that brutal loss, Lara rebounded with another impressive 11 successive wins, nine of which were by TKO/KOs. He started this new streak in August 2018 and it lasted until December 2020. With his stock going up, the Mexico City resident was pitted against one of the UK’s rising boxing stars Josh Warrington in February 2021.
The 24-year-old seized the huge opportunity to log the biggest win of his career by far as he TKO’ed Warrington in the ninth round to give him his first professional loss. Seven months later, they figured in an immediate rematch, but due to an accidental clash of heads, the fight was stopped as Lara suffered a cut in his left eye, leaving the result of the contest a technical draw.
In 2022, Lara collected two, third-round knockouts of Emilio Sanchez and Jose Sanmartin, which earned him the right to challenge Leigh Wood for his WBA World Featherweight Title. Although he hasn’t won any boxing title yet, “Bronco” still comes in as the betting favorite to win the championship clash with Wood.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) October 23, 2022
Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara: Tale of the Tape
Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara: Fight Analysis
Any physical advantages between Leigh Wood and Mauricio are out of the window as both boxers have the same frame at 5-foot-7 with 67 inches of reach and weighing 126 pounds. The only significant difference among them is the decade discrepancy in age, with Wood at 34 years old and Lara only at 24.
Record-wise, it is also almost identical among them as Wood has 26 wins (with 61% TKO/KO finishing rate) and two losses, while Lara owns 25 wins (72% TKO/KO finishing rate), two losses and one draw to his tally. Both are fighting in the orthodox stance, which means their power hand is the right hand.
Stylistically, both Wood and Lara are power punchers who like to stay in the pocket and exchange blows with their opponent until they stun and stagger their opponent. When they know their opponent is hurt, they will swarm them with more combinations to the head and body en route to a stoppage victory.
The x-factor in this bout is Wood’s recovery from the bicep injury he sustained, which is why he is the underdog in this fight. Questions of him being 100 percent or not during the fight will be answered, and if he is indeed fully healthy, he can eke out a late stoppage win over the tough Mexican challenger.
Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara: Date and Start Time
February 18, 2023, 7:00 p.m. GMT
February 18, 2023, 11:00 a.m. PST
February 18, 2023, 1:00 p.m. CST
February 18, 2023, 2:00 p.m. EST
Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara: Fight Prediction
Official Prediction: Late TKO/KO victory for Leigh Wood.
See the entire Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara odds and wagers here.
Online Boxing Betting
Whether you’re new to boxing betting, a casual fan who bets on a few matches per year, or a diehard placing dozens of online bets per month, BetMGM is the premier online sportsbook to bet on a boxing fight.