LARA VS. WOOD 2 FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Fri, 26 May 2023
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
"Welcome to Manchester ahead of a huge night of World Championship boxing this Saturday at Manchester Arena, live and exclusive in DAZN. The rematch for the WBA Featherweight Championship of the World between the champion Mauricio Lara and now the challenger Leigh Wood. We saw a tremendous fight earlier this year in Nottingham full on drama. Leigh Wood winning that fight, to then get stopped and to see Mauricio Lara become World Champion. We sat in the office and we talked about what was next – we talked about maybe waiting. There was no waiting from Leigh Wood. He believed he can win this fight. He wanted the immediate rematch and he’s got it, this time in Manchester with his fans travelling from Nottingham."
"First and foremost I want to say hi to everyone. As you say, last time was a calm performance but I’m really confident in my training camp and what we have done and I want to almost back-up and cement that victory, and I want to do it in quicker fashion. I’ll be looking for that knockout from the very first round. Big things are to come but first I have to, as I have said, cement that victory. Leigh Wood isn’t just any boxer, it will be a difficult fight but it is about continuing and cementing that victory and making history in this sport."
"First and foremost, we have to thank you for the opportunity. This is Mauricio’s fourth time in this country. On his third time he managed to win that World Title on a fantastic night. It was a dream that he had for a long time. I said it the first time we had the opportunity, that we would give the opportunity back to Leigh Wood if we managed to win, and it’s great that we can go on to have another great fight here. The last one was a war but we are totally focused and believing in Mauricio’s possibility in creating a legacy in the sport."
"There was never even a thought in my mind that anything different was going to happen. I know you tried to persuade me otherwise. It was just so frustrating how the fight finished. Like you say, it is a fast turnaround, but it is one that benefits me. If you said to me when I won the World Title, ‘right, in 13 weeks’ time you’re back out, you need to get back in the gym’, I’d have been like, ‘woah Eddie come on, let me celebrate’. That’s why I believe it is one that favours me. I was straight back in training, I had a little time with my kids. I’m ready to get this belt back and look good doing it. No doubts at all, that’s not me saying it’s going to be an easy fight, because it could be far from an easy fight, but I’m prepared for anything that he brings. The first time round was hard because we didn’t have his style against my style to look at, now we’ve got that information and we know what he does when I do certain things. I’ve been preparing for him for nearly a year in September. I know him inside out, I’m just going to go out there and prove that I’m the better fighter. It’s a must-win fight; there’s a lot of pressure. I love it, I thrive on it. Whatever is takes on Saturday night I’m coming away with a win. This is what gets me up for it, I can’t lose. I can’t afford to lose. That could be the end of the road for me. It’s a long road to come back from. That’s why I’m not thinking about losing, I’ve done everything I can do to win. I’m confident in winning. I know what I need to do to win. I know what I can’t afford to do."
Ben Davison, trainer of Wood:
"It was a scenario and a situation where there was no guarantees to the outcome. I can’t sit here and say that the fight wouldn’t have carried on going and Leigh wouldn’t have been victorious, and I can’t say vice-versa. It was a decision that I made in the moment, but with the understanding that we have this opportunity here. Leigh had this rematch clause. He’s got the opportunity to get his title back and I believe that he will do so. Leigh is forever in the gym, looks after himself, he doesn’t balloon up in between fights, he’s very disciplined in his life and his approach. It’s a career for him and a full-time job for him. He’s so disciplined when it comes to approaching fights and going into game plans that to actually take him away from a certain style match-up, to then bring him back to it would have actually been more difficult than it will be to go into a quick turnaround. I think he (Lara) was actually more respectful of Leigh’s power than we anticipated. He was a lot less reckless in the fight than we had anticipated being honest. I think the fact that he did eventually get the shot that he was looking for, the fight might play out a little bit more like the way we anticipated the first one to. Some adjustments, and I’m sure Mauricio and his team will have some adjustments. Leigh knows what he has to do and we are confident in the execution of that game plan.”
Alfie Sharman, Vice President Marketing - DAZN:
“I found myself on Sunday morning thinking, ‘how can you better Katie Taylor’s homecoming in Dublin in an amazing fight?’. Congratulations Chantelle. The answer was quick, it is back here in Manchester, an amazing fight city with two absolute warriors ready to put it on the line. We’ve had an incredible few weeks on DAZN with top tier fighters on both sides of the Atlantic fighting on our platform, and it doesn’t stop there. We’ve got plenty of headline fights coming up – Claressa Shields, Jaime Munguia, Vergil Ortiz Jr, Dalton Smith, Regis Prograis and Edgar Berlanga to name a few. It’s a really great time for us. Looking to Saturday, everyone in here saw the first fight. In my opinion predictions go out of the window for this one on Saturday. It’s a completely new fight, a new beast. Both men are in great shape and are ready to go. Leigh is very much looking to get that belt back and Mauricio looks like he’s not willing to let it go. We wish them both the best of luck and make sure you tune in on Saturday live on DAZN.”
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