WBA won’t strip Santa Cruz – Conlan v Wood won’t get title upgrade

Michael Conlan will challenge for the WBA ‘regular’ not ‘super’ world title when he fight’s Leigh Wood next year.

There was hope the mandated bout would be upgraded to a ‘super’ world title fight amid suggestions Leo Santa Cruz may be stripped.

The Mexican American star hasn’t defended the strap he regained by defeating Carl Frampton in a 2017 rematch, since early 2019. The four-weight world champion has fought since that win over Rafael Rivera, winning a super featherweight world title before losing to Gervonta Davies in spectacular fashion further up the scales, but the title has been inactive for some time.

The WBA have stripped fighters for less and looked likely to make the title ‘vacant’ when they requested the reigning champion confirm, by Monday gone, his intentions with regard to the strap.

The champ confirmed he intends to fight again at super featherweight again and defend his title – and the WBA are willing to allow him to retain champion status.

In fact, they will allow him to have a tune bout before he has to defend against the winner of Wood and Conlan’s mandated bout.

There is a ‘good news, bad news’ feel to the WBA move from an Irish and Conlan perspective. Conlan’s clash with Wood won’t be for the ‘super’ world title but victory would earn him a massive fight with Santa Cruz and the chance to dethrone a real champion of note.

A time and place for the Conlan vs Wood fight have yet to be confirmed. Irish-boxing.com understood New York and St Patrick’s Day was the front runner but Eddie Hearn, who won purse bids to promote the fight, suggested Manchester when speaking to Gavan Casey of the 42 as recent as last week.

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