Michael Conlan: “Respect Leigh Wood, Congrats, You’re A Tough F*cker But Let’s Run It Back”
By: Hans Themistode
Michael Conlan had always dreamed of becoming a world champion. With roughly one minute and 30 seconds remaining on the clock in his first crack at championship gold against secondary WBA featherweight titlist Leigh Wood, Conlan was only a few feet away from crossing the finish line.
However, as Conlan began momentarily taking his eyes off the prize, Wood made him pay. Desperate to protract his world title reign and down ever so slightly on all three judges’ scorecards, Wood threw everything he had at the former Olympian in the final two rounds.
Wood’s comeback began in the 11th, as he scored his first knockdown of the night. In the following frame, with Conlan pinned against the ropes, Wood connected on a sharp straight right hand that saw Conlan’s body immediately go limp. Wood would then unload a barrage on unanswered shots until Conlan’s motionless body was hurled from the ring.
Having had the chance to re-watch the first defeat of his career, Conlan reveals that he has nothing but reverence for his man. Nevertheless, he’s now angling for a chance at redemption.
“Watched the fight, I definitely need to run it back,” said Conlan on his social media account. “Up on the cards & 11th was a slip, fatigue was kicking in & I was caught on the temple with a good shot I didn’t see. Respect Leigh Wood.”
Initially, Conlan couldn’t have asked for a better start to their showdown which took place late last night at the Nottingham Arena. Conlan floored his man in the waning seconds of the opening round and would go on to mostly outbox the secondary titlist during long stretches.
Still, regardless of Conlan enjoying his moments of success, Wood refused to give up. He continually pushed Conlan back and made him work on the inside. His nonstop pressure came in handy in the championship rounds, as Conlan appeared to be running on fumes.
Ultimately, the defeat for Conlan is a tough pill to swallow. Judge Leszek Jankowiak had the former Olympian up by three points heading into the final round, handing in a scorecard of 105-102. Judge Guillermo Perez Pineda and Bob Williams also had Conlan up by a slight margin, turning in identical scorecards of 104-103 at the time of the stoppage.
As Wood’s head bounced off the canvas in the first round, Conlan continued to hurt the featherweight titlist at various points throughout the night. Despite being noticeably upset by how things ultimately played out following his strong start, no excuses will be made by Conlan. Instead, the former Olympian simply tips his cap to his fellow man as he makes his case for the pair to share the ring once more.
“Congrats again, you’re a tough f*cker but let’s run it back.”
Leigh Wood Scores Epic Knockout Win Over Michael Conlan In The Final Round
By: Hans Themistode
Michael Conlan was increasingly confident as his showdown against Leigh Wood inched closer. With the former Olympic standout earning his first crack at a world title, albeit a secondary one, the 30-year-old from Ireland refused to let his golden opportunity go to waste.
As the sound of the opening bell rang through Nottingham Arena, Conlan attempted to establish his jab. A calm, cool, and collected Wood bobbed side to side as the shots of Conlan bounced innocuously off his gloves. The WBA “Regular” featherweight titlist then proceeded to pump his own jab into the face of his man. After finding success, Wood then followed up with a combination, all of which connected square on the face of Conlan.
Wood continued his mastery into the waning seconds of the round until he took his eyes off the prize momentarily. Those precious seconds were all Conlan needed as he dropped Wood with an enormous left hook. To the credit of Wood, he immediately bounced back up to his feet but he never appeared right.
With one full minute to recover, Wood seemed to be unsure of himself in the second. He reluctantly and cautiously stayed away from the left hand of Conlan during the period. Still, even with Wood fighting more defensively, Conlan boxed beautifully. He landed the eye-catching and noteworthy shots while Wood continued his recovery process.
It wasn’t until round four where Wood appeared to look like his normal self. He promptly pushed Conlan back and turned the former Olympian into a brawler as opposed to a boxer. With Conlan fighting Wood’s fight, the secondary titlist had his most productive round yet.
As the momentum, however, continued for Wood through the halfway point of round six, Conlan settled things down with a strong jab and uncanny foot movement. No longer was Wood able to control his man with his forearms and elbows in the corner of the ring. Instead, Conlan made him miss and more importantly, pay, whenever he got in close.
In the eighth, Conlan boxed circles around Wood. At one point, he landed three consecutive jabs before punctuating the combination with a right hand. As blood trickled down Conlan’s left eye, he turned his attack toward the midsection of his man.
Throughout much of their contest, Conlan had his way. But, with the championship rounds now approaching and Wood seemingly down heavily on the scorecards, he threw all of his technique out the window and simply went for it.
In the penultimate round, Wood’s aggression pushed him even closer to retaining his world title. With only a few seconds remaining in the round, Wood scored his first knockdown of the night. While he was unable to follow up with the round ending, Wood picked up where he left off in the final frame.
A defensive Conlan moved back cautiously as Wood crept forward. In a bit of a perplexing turn, Wood landed a sharp right hand that saw Conlan’s body go limp. The former Olympian slumped onto the bottom ropes where Wood began unloading.
With a nonstop barrage of punches, Wood refused to let up until Conlan was thrown violently from the ring, leading to an epic ending and come from behind victory.
Michael Conlan Claims Interim WBA Featherweight Title Against TJ Doheny
By: Hans Themistode
Michael Conlan had a point to prove. In order to do so, the 29-year-old Irishman officially shed the “prospect” tag and instead, replaced it with the word champion.
In an all Ireland showdown against his fellow countrymen and former titleholder TJ Doheny, Conlan dominated his man. With the WBA interim featherweight title on the line and with his rabid fanbase watching and screaming his name from Falls Park in Belfast, Conlan didn’t waste the moment.
Kicking things off, neither fighter appeared interested in taking many risks. Conlan pumped out a slow and lethargic jab but rarely hit the mark. Doheny continued to play it safe during the first half of their contest. At the age of 34 and losing two of his past three contests overall, Doheny appeared uninterested in getting clipped with a big-time shot.
Noticing that Doheny’s offense was coming few and far between, Conlan began picking up his aggression. He landed numerous right hands and avoided the rare moments in which Doheny attempted to let his hands go.
Trailing at the midway point of their contest, Doheny got his offense going. While he was hoping to land something of note, his willingness to begin exchanging was actually to his detriment as Conlan landed a shot to the midsection. The strength of the blow forced Doheny to take a knee, although he managed to beat the count.
Now, full of confidence, Conlan kept the pedal to the metal. Throughout the remainder of the middle rounds, the 29-year-old pushed his considerably older opponent back and pushed for the stoppage win. Using fire with fire, however, Doheny began uncorking several shots that seemed to get the respect of Conlan.
With the championship rounds upon us and with Doheny needing a miraculous finish, the former titleholder began swinging for the fences but couldn’t land his money shot. By the end of it all, their contest was easy to score as all three judges handed Conlan the lopsided victory.
ESPN Boxing Results: Michael Conlan Wins, But Doesn’t Impress Against Sofiane Takoucht
Featherweight contender Michael Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) had the entire boxing world watching him as he took on Sofiane Takoucht (35-5-1, 13 KOs).
For much of the night Conlan treated his co main event showcase as a sparring session as he moved forward lethargically. Luckily for him, his opponent on the night wasn’t much of a challenge.
After ten rounds of one sided action, Conlan turned on the pressure and got his man out of there in the final round.