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Leigh Wood stops Michael Conlan in dramatic 12th-round comeback to retain WBA featherweight title

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eigh Wood retained his WBA world featherweight title against the odds with the most dramatic 12th-round comeback knockout of Michael Conlan in Nottingham.

Making the first defence of the belt he claimed against China’s Xu Can last summer in front of an electric hometown crowd at Motorpoint Arena, Wood produced another staggering late upset having been thoroughly second best for the majority of an enthralling bout and dropped at the end of the first round courtesy of a massive overhand left.

Behind on the judges’ scorecards, Wood fought back valiantly to produce his own (disputed) knockdown at the end of the 11th and went for broke thereafter, sending Conlan through the ropes with a devastating right hand to somehow keep hold of his title in what promoter Eddie Hearn described as the most dramatic fight he had ever witnessed.

There was concern for Conlan’s condition at ringside as the bout was immediately waved off and he was taken backstage for further treatment, with Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith later confirming that the Belfast favourite was conscious and stable after being transported to hospital.

Hearn added that Conlan was sitting up and talking as he awaited CT scans.

“I hope Michael is all right,” Wood told DAZN after the fight. “I can’t really celebrate until I know he is all right. Thoughts with him… he’s so tough.”

On Saturday’s undercard, Conlan’s compatriot Caoimhin Agyarko successfully kept his WBA International middleweight title after a dominant unanimous decision win over Mexico’s Juan Carlos Rubio.

Former super-featherweight world champion Terri Harper bounced back from her brutal stoppage defeat by Alycia Baumgardner with a punch-perfect display on her lightweight debut, dominating and firmly outpointing Argentine Yamila Belen Abellaneda.

The undefeated Gary Cully stopped veteran former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez in round five, while Sandy Ryan was upset by Erica Farias in a gruelling split-decision loss in only her fourth professional fight.

Mansfield’s Nico Leivars brushed aside Jose Hernandez on his pro debut, Thomas Carty moved to 3-0 after Michal Boloz was pulled out in the fifth and Thomas Whittaker-Hart stopped Simon Krebs in the opening bout of the evening.

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