This Saturday afternoon here in the states Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington face off in an all-British showdown live on DAZN from Sheffield Arena. Given these two combatants’ style of fighting boxing fans should be in for an entertaining main event. On the undercard, Terri Harper vs. Cecilia Braekhus should be pretty good. Also, keep an eye out for a closely-matched middleweight bout between Linus Udofia and Keiron Conway.
On the surface Josh Warrington appears to be on the downslide of his career going 1-2-1 since the beginning of 2021. That said Josh did some good stuff in his majority decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez last December. Against Mauricio Lara Warrington came out overly aggressive at time swinging wildly. Besides the times when Josh was landing short crisp combinations Lara’s left hook to the head or body would eventually equate to his undoing. Against Warrington, Luis Alberto Lopez fought at range and on the outside behind his jab, leaping left hands, and solid upper body movement making for a perfect segway in the next paragraph pertaining to Wood.
2023 has been a whirlwind for Leigh Wood, getting stopped in February by Mauricio Lara only to come back a little over 3 months to soundly defeat him in May. This boxing podcaster will use the title of a 1988 EMPD song to describe Leigh Wood’s best path to victory versus Warrington, “You Gots to Chill”. Wood has a prime example in his last two outings what the gameplan should be facing an aggressive boxer. Don’t get me wrong theirs a time and place for everything and if Warrington is hurt badly then no doubt he should jump on him.
Lessons learned for Leigh Wood has this boxing junkie betting that he will once again put brain before brawn. The definition of brain vs. brawn: Mental acuity or intelligence in contrast to great power or physical strength. We know Wood is capable of knocking out boxers at 126 as he did Can Xu and Michael Conlan. The way Wood led with his jab from the opening bell in the rematch with Lara helped him keep his composure throughout. Wood did a masterful job of mixing the jab to the head and body while also using it to faint setting up straight right hands. Half steps back or to the side helped his timing for that right hand and upper cuts.
In his fight this Saturday Leigh Wood would be best served by rinse and repeating the Mauricio Lara rematch. Staying off the ropes by pivoting and/or escaping the pocket also clinching when Warrington makes his way inside will be crucial. Look for Wood to control distance with that jab and stay patient as a charging, combination-throwing Josh Warrington tries to muck this thing up. Warrington’s only way to win is to bait Wood into exchanging all the while finding his way in the trenches to rough him up and land meaningful punches.
One thing is for certain the head clashes and rabbit punching will be in play because let’s be honest, it’s the Warrington way. It’s worth repeating that patience will be needed from Wood not to allow emotions to enter into the ultimate goal of winning. Leigh Wood by decision is a great bet still available for plus numbers. Even if a cut ends this fight as long as it’s beyond 4 rounds it will go to the scorecards. Warrington will make Wood work hard for this one and Josh will no doubt have his moments or rounds for that matter but it won’t be enough. As long as he keeps his cool the more talented boxer with multiple paths to victory should get the “W”.
My Official Prediction is Leigh Wood by Majority-Decision.
PODCAST LINK: tobtr.com/s/12274475
Side Note: Don’t forget about an ESPN+ Cruiserweight bout between Gilberto Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr. that should be a good fight to watch from a style standpoint.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio
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