Mauricio Lara stripped of title before Leigh Wood rematch amid weigh-in drama

The BBBofC prevented Lara from completing his weight-cut, after a mid-week check suggested that he would not make weight ‘safely’

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Friday 26 May 2023 17:02 BST
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Leigh Wood will be fighting for the ‘vacant’ WBA featherweight title on Saturday, after opponent Mauricio Lara was effectively stripped of the belt for failing to make weight.

Lara took the title from Wood in February by stopping the Briton in Round 7, as the towel came in despite Wood beating the referee’s count after a knockdown. The pair are set for a rematch on Saturday (27 May), but only Wood, 34, will be eligible to leave Manchester as champion.

That was the ruling after Lara came in nearly three pounds over the 126lbs featherweight limit at Friday’s weigh-in. While Wood weighed 125.9lbs, Lara hit the scales at 129.8lbs, after the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) refused to let the Mexican weigh less than 128.5lbs.

The BBBofC expressed concern after a mid-week check suggested that Lara, 25, would struggle to make weight ‘safely’.

Promoter Eddie Hearn told Behind The Gloves on Friday (26 May): “[Lara] cannot win the championship tomorrow night. In effect, the world championship is vacant.

“The WBA have just confirmed to me: The belt is vacant.

“Leigh Wood decided, because his weight was fine, ‘I’m making championship weight; I’m winning a world title on Saturday night.’

“[Lara] feels a little bit hard done by, because he says he could have made weight and he wasn’t allowed to try and make weight. But ultimately, the board decided that he was too heavy at that point during the week to safely make championship weight.”

Wood (left) suffered a seventh-round TKO loss to Lara in February
Wood (left) suffered a seventh-round TKO loss to Lara in February (Action Images via Reuters)

Wood’s trainer Ben Davison came in for criticism in February, after he threw in the towel with six seconds left in Round 7, despite Wood beating the referee’s count after a knockdown. Wood, fighting in his hometown of Nottingham, was leading the fight up until that point.

Addressing Friday’s weigh-in drama, Davison said: “Realistically, [the fight] shouldn’t be happening, should it? It’s a disgrace to be honest.

“I’ve got nothing against Mauricio Lara and the whole team, they’ve been respectful all the way throughout, but it’s an absolute shambles.

“We heard about his weight while Leigh’s on weight. There’s no point then going, ‘Oh, Lee, let’s just bring you up...’ There are going to be smarta***s [saying], ‘Why did you bring him in at championship weight?’ Leigh is already at championship weight by the time we know what [Lara] is looking to come in at.”

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