This Saturday, Nottingham’s Leigh Wood receives a dream opportunity to claim a world title belt when he faces WBA Regular featherweight champion Xu Can in the first instalment of Matchroom’s Fight Camp series in Brentwood, broadcast live worldwide on DAZN.
Xu (18-2, 3 KOs) was long trailed as a potential unification opponent for Josh Warrington, when the Leeds stalwart held the IBF crown, and enters the fight as a strong 1/4 favourite. The Chinese fighter has a high-octane style that could potentially overwhelm Wood at the higher level.
However, British champion Wood (24-2, 14 KOs) is boosted by that all-important home advantage and a new partnership with rising trainer Ben Davison, who was in the corner as the Nottingham man impressively stopped the unbeaten Reece Mould in nine in February.
Can Wood emulate Nottingham fight legend Carl Froch and earn world honours or will Xu’s energy and pedigree prove too much? Boxing Social’s intrepid band of writers and fortune tellers attempt to predict the outcome.
Leigh Wood is a decent operator, but Xu Can is a world-level fighter. Despite the ‘Regular’ status, he throws a lot of punches and will be looking to put on a show for the ‘Game Changed’ audience. Pedro Diaz and team expect a violent victory – I’ll go with that. Xu via mid-late stoppage. – Craig Scott.
Can’t see a Wood win here. Xu is rightfully an odds-on favourite and I fancy him to overwhelm the Nottinghamshire man around round seven. – Luke G. Williams.
I’m going against the grain to tip a Wood victory. Xu hasn’t fought since the last decade (November 2019), but in the weird and not-so-wonderful world of the WBA that hasn’t affected his championship status. Since then, Wood, a deceptive puncher, has fought a competitive 10-rounder with the in-form, imminent IBF title challenger Jazza Dickens, dropping a majority decision, and looked rejuvenated stopping Reece Mould. If he can disrupt Xu’s early rhythm, I think Wood can win on the cards. – Mark Butcher.
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.