Mauricio Lara vs. Leigh Wood 2: Keys to victory for both fighters

3 min read
Lara-Wood_25052023 Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Inside the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday night, there is set to be a war when Mauricio Lara makes the first defence of his WBA world featherweight title against Leigh Wood.

This weekend's main event is a rematch from when the pair met in February, a fight which Wood lost when his corner threw in the towel after the Nottingham fighter was knocked down in the seventh. 

As a result, the Mexican now holds the WBA featherweight title, a belt which Wood is eager to get back and set up some huge clashes in the near future. 

Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated rematch, DAZN takes a look at the keys to victory for both fighters. 

Mauricio Lara

Don't let the red mist settle in 

Mauricio Lara's nickname, 'Bronco' in Spanish means wild horse, and that is one way to describe the Mexican's style inside the ring. But this wild style can often lead to frustration if his opponent does not present any opportunities to land shots.

Wood's strategy in the first fight saw him use his footwork to stay out of Lara's range, and if he decides to opt for this tactic in the rematch, Lara will have to remain patient, not get frustrated and await for tiredness to set in before looking to increase the pressure. 

Get Wood's respect early on 

In a fight such as this between two power punchers, it's vital to get respect in the early stages and for Mauricio Lara it's imperative.

After shaking Leigh Wood to his core with the fight ending left hook three months ago, there will be some reluctance from Wood to trade blows. Therefore, it will be up to Lara to land the early power shots in an attempt to soften up Wood before going in for the stoppage. 

Be ready to soak up the damage

While Leigh Wood may try to outbox Mauricio Lara, there will certainly be some more spite in the punches Wood throws and the defending champion will have to stay alert.

Wood has proven time and time again that for a featherweight he boasts impressive power, and if he lands, Lara could suffer the same fate as the Nottingham fighter back in February. 

Leigh Wood

Don't change too much in the gameplan from the first fight

Yes, Leigh Wood may have been stopped in the first fight, but that stemmed from a Mauricio Lara left hook which has the potential to stop any high level fighter.

Wood's strategy of utilising the full size of the ring and only engaging when necessary saw him build a healthy lead on the judges' scorecards before round seven and there is no reason to not adopt a similar gameplan in Manchester. 

Trust your corner

After coach Ben Davison threw in the towel to stop the first Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara, it may be easy for Wood to be tempted to not fully commit to his corner's gameplan.

However, the tactics in the first Lara fight were perfect, and Wood should stick to the instructions he is given, the decision to throw in the towel was to ensure the former world champion was able to fight another day without taking unnecessary damage. 

Use your own power punches

Leigh Wood is no stranger to showcasing his power, take last year's clash with Michael Conlan as a prime example, and reclaiming the WBA title holder against Mauricio Lara with a similar performance would be some way to make statement.

Wood will obviously have to be controlled with his aggression as Lara can strike and flip a fight on its head in any given moment, but Wood has the power and accuracy to rock the Mexican, and inflict the second stoppage loss of his professional career. 

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