Boxing

"I'll destroy Leigh Wood..." Michael Conlan declares war as tension boils over in Nottingham

Michael Conlan made his intentions clear at yesterday's weigh-in at Albert Hall, Nottingham. Picture: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing
Andy Watters

World Boxing Association featherweight title: Leigh Wood (25-2) v Michael Conlan (16-0) (tonight, Nottingham Arena, live on DAZN)

MICHAEL Conlan vowed to “destroy Leigh Wood” as the simmering tension that builds up over three months' in training camp boiled over at yesterday's raucous weigh-in.

“You look weak,” claimed Wood.

Conlan, who didn't look weak at all, countered: “Aye, I'll show you who's weak tomorrow night…”

The Belfast man will have thousands of travelling supporters roaring him on tonight but he was given a hostile reception when he was introduced onto the stage by MC David Diamante.

It's the first time Conlan has experienced being the away fighter as a pro and he is absolutely made for it, he will thrive on it – all those boos will be stored up, every insult will give him energy.

After the fighters weighed in (Conlan hit the scales at 8st 13.6lb, Wood was 8st 13lb) there was an angry face-off and the heads edged closer and closer together but Wood was edging back before the security stepped in to separate the fighters.

“He sh*t himself there, he went head-to-head and didn't even try to push, he leaned in and backed off as soon as he got pushed back,” said Conlan.

“It'll be the same tomorrow night, he'll walk into shots all night. I'll destroy Leigh Wood.”

Meanwhile, amid chants of “Nott-ing-um, Nott-ing-um, Nott-ing-um…” Wood wasn't as composed as he has been throughout the build-up but he told the crowd: “I'll get the job done” and his band of merry men filed out of the Albert Hall revved up for tonight's headline act.

The atmosphere should be absolutely electric tonight and Wood was a paying customer “up in the cheap seats” the last time Nottingham Arena was packed for boxing.

Carl Froch ruled the place then and ‘The Cobra' had memorable wins over Andre Dirrell and Lucien Bute in his home town but best of the lot was his victory in an all-out war with Jean Pascal.

“Conlan, for me, has got it all to do,” said Froch, getting behind Nottingham's new fighting hero.

“Conlan is going to have to come forward and try and take this title and Leigh Wood is a very good counter-puncher, so all the pressure is on Conlan.”

Can the Belfast man prove him wrong? Will Wood's punching power decide it or his skill? Will it be clear cut or will he have to nick it?

In a city made famous by Robin Hood, Conlan won't have to nick anything.

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Boxing