By: Sean Crose
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Michael Conlan said of Leigh Wood during a Tuesday press conference to promote his March 12th battle for Wood’s WBA featherweight title, “he seems like a really good guy and I’ve heard loads of good things about him. I have the utmost respect for him as a person and fighter but fuck all that until after the fight. Let’s get the fight done.” Wood, too, is ready to put the niceties aside.
“I respect him as a fighter,” the defending titlist said of his opponent. “He’s not a fighter I’ve watched and thought he does anything unexpected or special. I do rate and respect him as a fighter, making sure I’m doing everything I need to do to win. He is quite tricky; we’ve looked at him in great detail.” The 25-2 Leigh then indicated that the 16-0 Conlan’s team has been trying to rattle him.
“Social media wise,” claimed Leigh, “it seems like he’s got all of Team Conlan trying to rattle me, but it is what it is, I give what I get. He can do what he wants to try and throw me off, but I just see it as a weakness, trying to get any advantage he can – it’s not going to work one bit but do that opposite.”
Leigh’s trainer, Ben Dasivson, brought up the fact that it’s essential his fighter enter the ring with a clear and focused mind. “It’s hard to explain,” he said, “but it still shocks me how hard Leigh hits, it’s freakish. I’ve trained him for over a year now and when I put the pads on it still shocks me. That isn’t going to win this fight, Michael’s a very versatile fighter who can adjust throughout the fight, through the rounds as well. Preparation, tactics, Leigh understanding what he needs to do and when he needs to do it, that’s going to be vitally important.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn heaped effusive praise on the entire event. “That night still reminds me of how great boxing is,” the Matchroom honcho claimed, “one of the greatest nights in British boxing history and of course coming up on March 12, we have another tremendous night. We’ve been wanting to come back to this city for a long time and now we’ve got the excuse to do it with a brilliant fight – the World Featherweight title between Nottingham’s own Leigh Wood against Belfast’s Michael Conlan.”
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