Leigh Wood doesn't want Conlan rematch * Cacace and Walker on Fury undercard * Injury setback for McCrory

Michael Conlan and Leigh Wood battle it out in their extraordinary clash for the WBA Featherweight world title. Will there be a rematch?
Andy Watters

THE scene is set for Conlan-Wood II but Jamie Conlan says the English champion and his coach Ben Davison do not want to face his younger brother for a second time.

Nottingham world champion Wood won an extraordinary see-saw ‘Fight of the Year' battle on home turf last month. Wood was floored in the first round and was a punch away from being stopped in the second but then – after momentum had swung one way and then the other – somehow he found the reserves of energy to knock Conlan out in last half of the 12th.

Conlan immediately said he wanted to do it again but Wood had his sights set on a unification battle with Josh Warrington at the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest. However, Warrington's jaw was broken in his world title win over Kiko Martinez 10 days ago meaning he will be out of action and that reopened the door for a rematch with Conlan.

Whether Wood walks through it or not, Jamie Conlan says he is busily planning his brother's next move.

“We're looking at Belfast for the first week in August and we're also exploring the options of a rematch with Wood,” said Jamie.

“There's been a lot of talk about it over the last few weeks so it's just about figuring out what's the right move going forward.

“Michael wants to set the record straight, he would love a rematch but I don't think Leigh or his coach (Davison) want a rematch so it all has to play out over the next few weeks but we're planning Michael's next move with or without Leigh Wood.

“If we can't get a rematch we would love to fight his best mate Jordan Gill, the European champion. That's a great fight.”

Promotion-chasing Championship outfit Nottingham Forest's final home game of this season is on April 30 which would leave a three-month window until the football season begins again in August and there are unconfirmed reports that the Wood camp hope to fight at the City Ground in mid-July.

“If Leigh Wood wants to fight at the City Ground then there only is one dance partner who can sell it out and that's Michael,” said Jamie.

“Him and Michael in the City Ground, given what they put on in Nottingham Arena, would definitely sell out. It would be unbelievable and they would continue on from where they left off – it would be a fantastic fight. Leigh has earned the right to fight at the City Ground but we can only focus on what the next step is for Michael.”

Having come so close – he was winning on all three judges' scorecards going into the final round – to victory at Nottingham Arena, Michael Conlan obviously wants another crack at Wood. Being involved in what many good judges described as the best fight they'd ever seen meant his stock rose and he will be confident of completing the job second time around. On the flip side, Wood's camp can claim that they took the best that Conlan had to offer and knocked him out.

“We came away from the fight with a lot more positives than negatives,” said Jamie.

“I know how much he put in and how much it meant to Michael so I was, I still am, legitimately heartbroken over it. It was an absolute rollercoaster, there were a lot of momentum swings – it was just insane.

“Michael's value has gone up in terms of where he goes next, there's more clamour for him now because he showed something different – nitty-gritty, heart… The whole package.

“We have things to work on going into a potential rematch but I don't think Leigh Wood and his team want to fight Michael and they have the right to do whatever they want to do next.”

ANTHONY Cacace will face former super-bantamweight world champion Jonathan Romero on the undercard of Tyson Fury-Dillian White at Wembley on April 23.

Cacace and Romero will battle it out for the WBO International super-featherweight belt and ‘The Apache' will have Kurt Walker for company on the Wembley undercard. Walker won his professional debut by TKO on the undercard of Taylor-Catterall last month.

PODY McCrory had boxed five rounds in two years and then, with a comeback fight on the horizon he broke his thumb in training.

‘The Hammer' was training with Tommy McCarthy when, in the last punch of their spar, he broke his thumb throwing an overhand right. It's a setback the Belfast man simply did not need but he hopes to be back in action next month.

“We were sparring and somebody shouted “10 seconds to go”. I threw an overhand right and I knew straight away that I'd hurt my thumb,” he said.

“I've been out of the ring for six months so I was hoping to have something in place within the next few weeks but it's all up in the air again now.

He'd been pushing for a fight with the likes of Rocky Fielding but he's happy to fight anybody – any time, any place, anywhere. Unfortunately he's fallen into that ‘high-risk, low-reward' trap after some excellent performances.

“Since February 2020 I've boxed five full rounds and I've had three fights,” he said.

“At 33 I would have liked to push on a bit more and got the big fights to see where I can go in this boxing career. I'm at that stage now where I think people are wary of fighting me.”

His first priority is recovering from his injury but he hopes to get a comeback fight set up for May and then intends to feature at this summer's Feile an Phobail at the Falls Park. He lit up the West Belfast venue twice previously with stoppage wins over Steve Collins junior and, last year, Sergei Gorokhov.

“All I can do is keep putting my name out there and let people know that I'm willing to fight,” said Pody.

“There's not much more I can do apart from going online and starting slabbering which isn't me. Going to the States isn't as easy as just getting up and going. You'd need to sort stuff out with your management, you need to sort out where you're going to live, who is going to train you… And I have a very young family so it's something that doesn't really work for me.”

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