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Champion Leigh Wood has City Ground goal

After a thrilling Saturday night of boxing, British world champions Leigh Wood and Chris Billam-Smith can start plotting their next moves.

Wood, 34, won his rematch with Mexico's Mauricio Lara in impressive fashion in Manchester, regaining his WBA featherweight title, and the Nottingham-born fighter is keen for a bout at the City Ground, home of Premier League club Nottingham Forest.

Another football ground, Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium, was the scene of Billam-Smith's triumph over Lawrence Okolie. Billam-Smith is enjoying his status as the new WBO cruiserweight champion thanks to his victory although Okolie, having suffered his first defeat in 20 fights as a professional, wants a rematch.

Belfast's Michael Conlan, who was beaten by Wood in a spectacular fight last year, came up short in his hometown bid for the IBF featherweight title as he was stopped in the fifth round by champion Luis Alberto Lopez.


Josh Taylor v Teofimo Lopez


Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, USA


03:00, Sunday 11th June

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Action


Josh Taylor 10/19, Teofimo Lopez 29/20 

Warrington could be next on Wood's hit list

Sunday 11th June is the next big date for British boxing fans as Scotland's Josh Taylor defends his WBO super-lightweight title against Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden in New York.

There are also exciting times ahead for Leigh Wood after he regained the WBA featherweight belt on Saturday thanks to a unanimous points decision against Mauricio Lara at Manchester's AO Arena.

Wood was clearly superior to his Mexican opponent, who had vacated the belt after failing to make the weight on Friday, knocking down Lara in the second round and controlling the contest thereafter.

The 34-year-old is looking forward to signing off his career with two big fights and two-time world featherweight champion Josh Warrington is one potential opponent for Wood, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

A clash with Warrington would require Otabek Kholmatov, the WBA's mandatory challenger, to step aside and Wood is also eager for a unification fight with Luis Alberto Lopez. The Mexican, who beat Warrington last December, retained his IBF featherweight title by defeating Michael Conlan on Saturday.

Nottingham Forest fan Wood wants a hometown fight before he hangs up his gloves, telling reporters after Saturday's win: "I probably have two fights left, City Ground one, unification another. I want my happy ending."

Bournemouth defeat leaves Okolie with questions to answer

Saturday was a breakthrough night for British, Commonwealth and European champion Chris Billam-Smith, whose hard-fought points victory over former sparring partner Lawrence Okolie earned him the WBO cruiserweight title in front of his home fans in Bournemouth.

The new champion overcame sickness in the build-up to the fight to see off Okolie and he has hit the big time with potential opponents including Sergey Kovalev, Richard Riakporhe and Australia's Jai Opetaia, who has been linked with a heavyweight fight against Tyson Fury recently.

Before the fight, Okolie had been contemplating a move up to the heavyweight division if he beat Billam-Smith convincingly. After losing his unbeaten record, though, he suggested he would activate a clause for a rematch, vowing: "I can adapt to a loss, I'll be back again."

However, the first defeat of his career was a tough one to take as he was knocked down three times and was docked two points for clinching so it will be interesting to see how the Hackney hitter responds.

Conlan set to take time out after bruising loss

While Wood and Billam-Smith celebrated on Saturday, it was a disappointing night for Michael Conlan, who was outclassed by Luis Alberto Lopez in their IBF featherweight title fight in Belfast.

The Northern Irish fighter admitted that he "couldn't seem to get going" against the champion and is planning to take some time out to consider his future.

Conlan was knocked out of the ring in his final-round defeat against Wood in March 2022 after what promoter Hearn described as "a masterclass from Michael" over the first 11 rounds of the contest.

Saturday's fight was a more one-sided affair as Lopez followed up December's victory over Josh Warrington in Leeds by silencing the home fans once again, this time in Belfast.

Lopez ended the fight with a ruthless upper-cut in round five, prompting Conlan's corner to throw in the towel, and the Mexican declared that the manner of his win proved he was "a true champion".

The 31-year-old Conlan will need time to reflect on a below-par performance as boxing fans catch their breath after a dramatic weekend of action.

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