WBA orders Leo Santa Cruz-Leigh Wood 'Super' title fight

The clock is clicking for Leo Santa Cruz.

The Mexican-American has been ordered to defend his WBA 'Super' featherweight title against England's Leigh Food, the reigning WBA 'regular' 126-pound titlist. Santa Cruz has not defended the title nor fought at the weight class since February 2019.

“In another step of the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) world title reduction plan, the WBA Championships Committee ordered the bout between Featherweight Super Champion Leo Santa Cruz and champion Leigh Wood,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee stated in a formal letter to both parties, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The goal is to have only one champion at 126 pounds and the winner of this bout will keep this distinction.

“Santa Cruz is the super champion of the category and reappeared in February when he defeated Keenan Carbajal in Las Vegas. The Mexican must now face Wood, who comes from defending his championship against Michael Conlan last March 12, in Nottingham.”

The two sides will have until May 6 to agree to terms for the fight. A purse bid hearing will be ordered if they fail to reach a deal within 30 days.

Should Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KOs) decide to vacate, which is a possibility, the 33-year-old Wood (26-2, 12 KOs) could be elevated to 'Super' champion status by the WBA.

The 33-year-old Santa Cruz has campaigned at the junior lightweight limit of 130-pounds in his last three bouts, including a ten-round shutout in a headbutt fest against Keenan Carbajal this past February 5 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

Wood claimed his version of the belt in an upset 12th-round knockout of China’s Can Xu last July in Brentwood, Essex, England. His first title defense ended in a dramatic, stunning, come-from-behind 12th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Michael Conlan this past March 12 in his hometown of Nottingham, England.

Wood was floored in the opening round and was thoroughly outboxed for much of the fight before rallying in the 11th round to send an exhausted Conlan to the floor before knocking him out of the ring to end their scintillating fight. trailed on all three scorecards before rallying to floor Conlan late in round eleven before sending him out of the ring in ending their epic fight with just 1:25 to go in the twelfth and final round.

Another option for Wood is a unification bout with fellow countryman and two-time IBF featherweight titlist Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs), who reclaimed the championship in a seventh-round stoppage of Kiko Martinez on March 26 in his hometown of Leeds. However, the 31-year-old suffered a broken jaw during the match, which will require some time to recuperate.

Talks have since swirled of a potential unification bout with countryman two-time IBF featherweight titlist Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8KOs), who regained his crown in a seventh-round stoppage of Kiko Martinez on March 26 in his Leeds hometown.

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