Leigh Wood stuns world champion Xu Can to pull off Fight Camp upset

Wood was the underdog against the featherweight world champion but pulled off the biggest result of his career to be crowned world champion

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Leigh Wood was crowned featherweight world champion on Saturday night after stopping Xu Can in a stunning upset.

The 32-year-old was drafted in at six weeks’ notice to take on his Chinese rival who had been out of action for 21 months.

And Can’s lay-off didn’t help as Wood made a fast start and refused to relent, dropping and stopping the visitor in the final session.

Wood’s first world title tilt headlined Eddie Hearn’s first Fight Camp of the summer – and his first UK show on new UK broadcaster DAZN.

Conor Benn’s clash with Adrian Granados had been set to take centre stage until the son of a legend tested positive for Covid-19.

And Wood took full advantage of his promotion, dropping the champion a minute from the end before forcing the referee to step in with seconds remaining.

Leigh Wood in action against Xu Can


Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)

The fight began with Wood starting on the front foot in the opening rounds, using his jab and firepower well to keep the Chinese champion from starting at the same ferocious speed that he has previously set in fights against the likes of Manny Robles.

It continued to be a real-chess match as Wood’s game plan continued to prevail in the middle rounds with Xu Can limited to shots through the middle of the guard, but clearly felt the pace of the Nottingham fighter as the fight continued.

Many continued to have the Briton ahead, as he boxed well and demonstrated his powerful punches going into round eight, where. tremendous flurry of shots seemed to really sting his opponent who was just starting to attempt to replicate his infamous shot output and turn the tide of the contest.

But the fight went into a final round with Can needing something special to swing the scorecards in his favour, and as he marched forward was caught with a tremendous shot that sent him crushing to the canvas in a real shock that sent the watching crowd into raptures.

Wood stepped on the gas, and closed the show with the referee stepping in to end the punishment, and the Briton did not chance leaving the fight to go to the scorecards and made history in becoming the second world champion from Nottingham, only after legendary Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch.

He picked up his WBA world featherweight title having his hand raised at the end of a superb contest, provoking emotional scenes as he dropped to his knees and celebrated with the trainer who masterminded the tactical plan Ben Davison.

Wood has now called for bigger and better fights in his post-bout interview believing that now is the time for him to really mix it with the best, after showing his capabilities in tonight’s contest at Fight Camp.

“Credit to Ben, he has completely changed me as a fighter,” Wood said after the fight.

“Everything that could of gone wrong before did so, but I have done it and I cannot believe I am world champion.

“He is a very good fighter and i had to really dig deep.

“But not only did I nearly beat him on points, I got the stoppage.

“It is my birthday in an hour, and I am going to celebrate and enjoy this moment.

“I only had six-weeks notice and I managed to get to the point I needed too.

“I want to get to the big fights now and mix it with the world-level guys now.”

Also on the card was an explosive co-feature where Chris Billam-Smith defeated cruiserweight rival Tommy McCarthy by split decision along the distance in a really fiery affair.

There was also victory for Campbell Hatton as he secured a decision victory in his third professional fight, while Jack Cullen defeated experienced super-middleweight Avni Yildirim in the opening fight of the night.

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