It Wasn’t The Most Marketed, But Michael Conlan Vs. Leigh Wood’s Nonstop Action Is Boxing’s Fight Of The Year

Wood claimed the WBA world featherweight title along with it.

There were plenty of great bouts in 2022, but the memorable tussle between Michael Conlan and Leigh Wood takes the top spot.

The battle took place on March 12 in Nottingham, England, for the WBA featherweight title. This wasn’t the most marketed fight of the year, but the fight had non-stop action, drawing the breath of the audience – and it had a brutal ending.

In the opening round, the 31-year-old Conlan began on the front foot by taking down the hometown boy and hitting him on the left part of the head. What happened after the first round featured skill, willpower and determination.

Conlan was the better fighter in the first half of the bout. On the other hand, Wood had harrowing moments and was on his way to a huge setback.

However, the 34-year-old Englishman refused to buckle under pressure. His determination paid off in the fight’s second half when he turned a one-sided defeat into a fully-fledged war.

Eventually, it led to a defining victory for Conlan.

When the 11th round came, it was Wood who was dominating the fight. He brought the crowd to their feet with some breathtaking athleticism and punches. In the penultimate round, he put Conlan down, although the Irish boxer protested that he had slipped.

The most dramatic moment came in the 12th and final round. Wood and Conlan, still exchanging blows, were trying to be in the driving seat. Eventually, Conlan stepped back until his back was against the ropes. Wood anticipated the move by landing a decisive punch, which made the 31-year-old’s body go limp.

Shortly afterwards, Wood tried to be on the front foot by unloading a flurry of quick punches. Conlan’s resistance finally extinguished as he went through the ropes and onto the floor, resulting in chaos in the packed arena.

Referee Steve Gray tried intervening by looking at Conlan’s condition over the top rope. He had to determine whether the Irish boxer would have it in him to climb back into the ring and resume. However, the referee understood that he wasn’t responding and stopped the fight at 1:25.

The most surprising thing was that Conlan had a slight lead after 11 rounds (105-102, 104-103 and 104-103), which showcased his dominance in the earlier proceedings. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist was rushed to the hospital shortly after the fight.

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