Conlan fears Wood is not on board with Eddie Hearn’s winter rematch plans

There has been contact made about a winter re-run but Michael Conlan [16(8)-1(1)] doesn’t see it happening.

The Belfast favourite revealed Matchroom and DAZN have discussed the possibility of promoting a rematch with Leigh Wood [26(16)-2(1)] later this year with Top Rank.

However, while it appeals to Hearn and co, the Olympic medalist, who was dramatically stopped when the pair first met in March, doesn’t think the Nottingham fighter is keen.

The Adam Booth trained talent also doesn’t think the WBA ‘regular’ world champion will be in a position to repeat if he does face WBA super champion Leo Santa Cruz this summer.

Conlan claims Wood is so rematch adverse that he is willing to take less lucrative fights rather than face the Belfast fighter again, suggesting he knows the outcome won’t favour him if they do share a ring for a second time.

“I done everything possible to make that rematch happen but the situation has come up with Santa Cruz and it looks like that fight is going to happen, it’s going to purse bids,” Conlan tells Irish-boxing.com.

“He says he wants to have bigger fights than the rematch, but the rematch is the biggest fight. I know he would be willing to less money to fight a Josh Warrington or other unification fights. That’s what was said in the immediate aftermath which is dumb in my opinion.

“We wanted the rematch, I’ve been told Eddie Hearn, Matchroom and DAZN have reached out to Top Rank about doing it in the winter. All being well with Leigh Wood will still be champion then, hopefully so, but I can understand why he wouldn’t want the rematch.”

Nottingham, UK: Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, WBA Featherweight World Title. 13 March 2022 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

If Wood loses to Santa Cruz, famously a former Carl Frampton foe, and Conlan bounces back against three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga [30(26)-5(1)], the Irish side of the potential Fight of the Year may be the ones who don’t fancy the rematch.

And defeat to the four-weight world champion is more than a possibility according to Top Rank’s Conlan.

“I’ll be honest I can’t see him being champion after a Leo Santa Cruz fight,” he adds before suggesting he has seriously softened up the Ben Davidson trained featherweight.

“If you look at our fight and ask who did that take more out of, people will say me because I got knocked out but in terms of damage, he took way more damage than me to the head, to the body, everywhere. I’d be worried about him fighting anyone next because he took that much damage.”

Would Wood not go into a Santa Cruz fight full of extra confidence having knocked out another name and highly rated fighter in Conlan last time out? The 30-year-old switch hitter doesn’t think so.

“Does he have the confidence? He knows he was beaten for the majority of that fight and got dropped heavy by someone who is not known as a puncher. I’m not known as a puncher, I know that, and I bounced his head off the canvas.”

Photo Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com