Boxing

Leo Santa Cruz drops WBA belt, Leigh Wood lifts up


Via Brian Webber: Leigh Wood is currently the only WBA featherweight champion after the World Boxing Association revealed today that Leo Santa Cruz has vacated his 126 lb ‘Super’ title.

With Santa Cruz relinquishing the WBA belt, 34-year-old Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) is that organization’s only champion in featherweight.

Wood’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, said last Saturday night that Leigh will defend her next WBA title against Mauricio Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) at the City Ground in Nottingham, England, next year. 2024.

Wood should have defended against the strong 24-year-old Lara, but he withdrew from the fight due to an arm injury. Lara did not believe that Wood was injured, and he felt that he withdrew because he did not want to face him.

With Lara’s youth, strength and toughness, he is a formidable opponent for Wood, who was nearly defeated in a match against Michael Conlan last March before winning by knockout in round 12.

Hearn may change his mind about having Wood-Lara fight as Wood is the only 126 lb WBA champion because he mentioned last Saturday that he wants to fight Leigh against Josh Warrington or Newly crowned IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez in a unified fight match.

What’s not clear is why the WBA didn’t strip Santa Cruz of the 126 lb title with their organization long ago as he hasn’t defended the title since his win over Rafael Rivera in 2019.

That battle was three years ago. It is hard to believe that the WBA did not take action to strip Santa Cruz of the right to play. Some boxing fans believe that the WBA doesn’t want to deprive Leo of his rights because of his popularity in the United States.

Santa Cruz has accomplished a lot in his career, and he’s one of the more popular boxers in the lighter weight classes.

For American fans, they will be happy if Lara wins a spot for Wood’s WBA belt because they feel the Mexican powerhouse was mistreated in his rematch with Josh Warrington last September in Leeds.

It was a match where Lara suffered a severe cut to her left eye after several accidental head injuries with Warrington.

The umpires scored the match with a second record technical draw even though Lara landed with cleaner, harder hits in both halves, i.e. one-sided unless you count bumps. hit Warrington’s head when the punch landed.

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