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Leigh Wood set to move up in weight after stunning knockout of Josh Warrington

Leigh Wood vs Josh Warrington. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood 28-3 (17) looks set to abandon the weight class where he has made his name to campaign at super featherweight.

The 35-year-old from Nottingham successfully defended his title against two-time IBF 126-pound champion Josh Warrington 31-3 (8) with a come-from-behind seventh-round knockout at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England on Saturday night.

There seems to be an appetite for a rematch with Leeds’ Warrington, 32, who was leading the fight 58-56 and 59-55 twice at the time of the stoppage.

But if that happens it will be at 130-pounds, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Featherweight, he’s done,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said of Wood. “I think we know that. That’s his last fight at featherweight.

“Whether it’s moving up to try and become a two-division champion against [IBF super featherweight boss] Joe Cordina, whether it’s Warrington again, wherever it is, he deserves that chance.

“If you look at his fights. Can Xu, [Mauricio] Lara, Conlan, and Warrington, it’s an incredible run, and massive respect to Josh Warrington. He’s been an absolute legend of the sport. His fans have been incredible.

“Leigh Wood’s fans have been incredible tonight. British boxing wins big time. That was a thriller and just another unbelievable part of the journey for Leigh Wood.”

Hearn praised Warrington for his gritty effort. The challenger seemed to be in full control of the contest at the time of the knockout.

“Leigh dominated the first two rounds,” Hearn said. “I thought Josh Warrington was sensational. I had him well ahead in the fight. I actually said to Tony Bellew before the stoppage, ‘I think Leigh Wood’s done. The weight’s hurting him.’ And it was just a thrilling knockout.”

Late in the seventh round Warrington was caught with a right hook from Wood thrown from the southpaw stance. The punch hurt him and the follow-up salvo sent him to the canvas.

Warrington made it to his feet and went to the ropes, turning his back to referee Michael Alexander who took this as an indication he was not in suitable shape to continue.

“I just feel a bit hard done by, it was the end of round, get to my feet, look at my dad with a smile on my face, turn round at [the count of] eight and it’s being waved off,” Warrington said.

Hearn said both men deserved credit for delivering an exhilarating fight.

“Josh was badly hurt. He didn’t turn around,” he said. “And I’ll tell you, this man here is unbelievable. Unbelievable. What he’s done in the featherweight division… it just shows you if you stick at it, anything can happen.”

Regardless of who Wood faces next, Hearn would like to hold the fight at City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest FC.

“It’s going to take a big fight for Leigh Wood at the City Ground,” Hearn said. “I want to see the fight back.

“If Josh would have turned round, they would have 100 percent let the fight carry on. If the ref did call it off at eight, it was too early because he should have given him the opportunity to turn around.

“The ref said to me ‘he wouldn’t turn round and if he doesn’t turn round I can’t let him continue’. When you look at frontrunners for sizes of fights at the City Ground, I think the rematch is probably the biggest one.”