WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood will be back fighting in Nottingham on September 24 when he defends his title against Mauricio Lara but the bout will not take place at the City Ground.
Forest fan Wood (26-2, 16KOs) set his sights on fighting at his home football club after he produced a brutal 12th-round stoppage of Michael Conlan in March.
Wood’s successful defence of his WBA belt occurred at a sold-out Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham and that same venue will host his 29th professional bout.
Lara will be in England for a third time after he was involved in two memorable fights with Josh Warrington in 2021, stunning the Leeds boxer in the first at Wembley Arena before the second at Headingley Stadium in September ended in a technical draw due to a nasty cut over the left eye of the Mexican.
“I maybe have a handful of fights left and I want them to be my biggest,” revealed Wood, who turned 34 at the start of August.
“I want to be tested. I’m filling arenas now and I want to keep that momentum going. Every fight should be a step forward, not backwards.
“Mauricio Lara is dangerous but high risk high reward, I’m confident I can do what Josh Warrington couldn’t do and get the job done.”
A bout between Wood and WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz was speculated after his March victory but failed to materialise while Warrington, who appeared open to fighting his compatriot at the City Ground, is set to defend his IBF belt later in the year before a potential clash between the pair in 2023.
Matchroom promotor Eddie Hearn said: “This is an unbelievable fight and Leigh Wood has massive cojones for stepping up to the plate again in Nottingham.
“Last time out he gave us one of the most dramatic fights for many years and fans can expect all the drama again on September 24.
“It’s a huge card with Terri Harper stepping up the divisions attempting to become a two division champion against Hannah Rankin and a brilliant Yorkshire derby for the IBO title between Maxi Hughes and Kid Galahad with lots more to be announced. Expect another incredible atmosphere at the Nottingham Arena.”
Lara, known as Bronco, was last in action in March when he beat Emilio Sanchez with a third-round knockout to earn a 24th win out of 27 fights.
He said: “I’m very excited. This is the opportunity that I have worked so hard for and I am not going to miss it.
“I am aware that Leigh Wood is a great fighter, but no one is going to take away the possibility of me becoming a world champion. I’m going to England for the third time and it’s like I’m fighting at home.”
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