Nottingham - In a mandatory showdown, for the WBA's "regular" title at featherweight, Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) recovered from near disaster and was certainly down on the cards, came back in the twelfth and final round to knock unbeaten Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) out cold and out of the ring. (photos by Mark Robinson)
Wood started the first by coming forward and taking the fight to Conlan. He was landing solid punches on Conlan to the head and body. At the end of the road, Conlan landed a tremendous shot that sent Wood down hard on his back. Wood got up on very unsteady legs and was lucky that punch came at the bell.
Conlan was more aggressive in the second. Wood was rocked again by a big left and holding on for dear life as Conlan was trying to finish him off. There was a possible clash of heads with Conlan's left eye streaming blood. Conlan was trying to bust Wood up and Wood was still on unsteady legs. Wood began to recover and rally a little in the closing seconds.
The third saw Wood come out pressuring Conlan, who was landing the quicker punches. Wood was doing better, with Conlan still connecting with the better punches. During the fourth, Wood did a lot better whenever he pinned Conlan against the ropes and let his hands go. Conlan would eventually create distance and was landing quicker punches. The fifth began with Conlan landing two left hands. Wood took them this time around. As they were trading, it appeared Wood was wobbled again but overcame the danger. Wood was also cut above his left eye from a clash of heads.
Wood began the sixth doing better work with his hands connecting to the head and body. Conlan didn't seem too bothered by anything and was still connecting often. Conlan was doing good work to the body. In the seventh, the pace slowed a little, but it was still Conlan on top. They were trading away in the closing moments. Wood began the eight with some heavy body shots. Wood was looking to make it a brawl, as Conlan was moving and boxing. Conlan landed a big left and Wood came firing back with combinations as the two exchanged heavy shots.
Conlan began the ninth with two lefts. Conlan began to box and jab as Wood followed looking for big shots. In the tenth, Conlan continued to connect with the left hand. He was also hurting Wood to the body. Wood really rallied at the end with a lot of punches. Wood came out pressing in the eleventh, looking for a knockout. Conlan was moving and boxing with the jab. They were trading big punches and Conlan was connecting much better, with Wood scoring a knockdown in the closing seconds.
Wood came out firing in round twelve. He was pushing forward and connecting knocked Conlan out cold and out of the ring. The fight was quickly waved off as ringside officials ran over to help Conlan on the floor.