Mauricio Lara knocks out Lara, wins secondary belt

Mauricio Lara once again put his impeccable power on display by stopping previously unbeaten Leigh Wood in the seventh round to win a secondary featherweight title on Saturday.

A crunching left hook sent Wood's hometown fans at the Nottingham Arena into stunning disbelief as their fighter collapsed flat on his back. Wood rose to his feet but was still on wobbly legs. That was when his trainer, Ben Davison, threw in the towel to stop the fight. 

Wood had appeared to be in control of the action until he was clipped by the left hook, and disagreed with Davison's decision to halt the bout.

"I feel very happy for this championship. It's what I've dreamed of since I was 8 years old," Lara said. "I definitely felt Leigh's punches, but they didn't hurt me. He hits hard and is a good champion."The win opens up the possibility of a title unification fight for Bronco against a pair of featherweight titlists, including Rey Vargas (WBC) and Luis Alberto Lopez (IBF), scenarios that would both result in Mexican vs. Mexican showdowns.

However, the decision won't be up to Lara.

"I want the trilogy fight [with Josh Warrington] and, of course, I want more belts -- it's up to [promoter] Eddie Hearn to make it," he added.Lara has wreaked havoc on English fighters over the past few years. It all started when he knocked out Josh Warrington in nine rounds back in February 2021 at Wembley Arena.

A rematch ended in disappointment, when Lara was rendered unable to continue after suffering a gruesome cut above his left eye in the second, caused by a headbutt, and the bout ended in a technical draw.

But the 24-year-old Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs), of Mexico City, has produced three consecutive knockouts since.Wood (26-4, 16 KOs), 34, meanwhile, was also on an impressive run, coming off two last-round knockouts—against Xu Can in July 2021 and then against Michael Conlan 11 months ago—leading up to the Lara fight.

However, "Bronco" erased the comeback kid x-factor ability with one left hook. Although Wood is unhappy with Davison's decision to stop the fight, he is focused on earning a rematch against Lara.

"I'm a fighter -- I'm not going to say anything more," Wood said.

"I made a mistake and I paid for it. Absolutely I want the rematch."

Wood was cut near his left eye in the opening round from an accidental clash of heads.

However, Wood fired back in the second round with a hard left hook.

But Lara responded with his own artillery, drilling Wood with a right to the temple that had him hurt towards the end of the round.Wood swung the tide back in his favor in the third round, as he continually snuck in his right hand through Lara's high guard.

Both fighters landed big left hooks in the fourth, but Wood mixed in a variety of shots—including his right hand—in the fifth frame.

After a dominant sixth round, Wood appeared to be on cruise control, but got outsmarted. Moments before both went to throw left hooks, Lara had taken a step to Wood's right, and turned over his left hook and nailed him right on the button, sending him crashing to the canvas flat on his back.

Wood got up, but was discombobulated and out on his feet, prompting Davison to throw in the towel.

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