It was the ultimate ‘pinch me’ moment for Mauricio ‘Bronco’ Lara.
The red-hot featherweight from Mexico City stormed the lion’s den and came away with his first major title in a seventh-round knockout of Leigh Wood this past February 18. Lara rallied from a scorecard deficit to drop and eventually stop Wood to win the WBA featherweight title on the road in Nottingham, England.
“It felt like a bucket of cold water was poured over my head, waking me up to realize my dreams came true,” Lara fondly recalled of the moment. “He thinks he was winning the fight. Maybe he won a few rounds but he thinks I’m an easy opponent who was lucky to win. On May 27, I’m going to make it clear that I didn’t win on a lucky punch.”
Lara (26-2-1, 19KOs) will return to the United Kingdom for his title fight rematch versus Wood (26-3, 15KOs) this Saturday atop a DAZN stream from the AO Arena in Manchester. He enters the fight having scored eleven knockouts in his last thirteen starts, for which he is 12-0-1 overall.
A clash of heads left Lara cut and—according to the doctors—unable to continue just two rounds into their September 2021 rematch in Leeds, England. The lone other fight among that stretch to not end in knockout came in a December ten-round win over Sergio Puente in Monterrey, Mexico. Lara’s last four fights ended in seven rounds or less.
The vow is to make sure Wood is a repeat victim in that capacity.
“It will be tough to take away something I’ve worked hard to achieve since I was eight years old,” noted Lara. “I worked too hard for this and nobody is taking it from me. Come May 27, be prepared because it will end in knockout.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox