The featherweight division could have a unified champion if Eddie Hearn gets his way in the coming months.
On March 12 Leigh Wood, promoted by Hearn, defends his WBA title against amateur starlet Michael Conlan on the champion’s home turf at Nottingham Arena. Two weeks later Josh Warrington, also under the Matchroom banner, can regain his IBF featherweight title against Kiko Martinez. The plan thereafter is simple.
“It would make sense for the winners to fight the winners in a big unification fight for the division and that would be the plan,” Hearn told Boxing Social’s Andi Purewal at today’s Wood-Conlan press conference in Nottingham.
Hearn also gave an update on the status of the fight. As things stand Wood hold the WBA’s World title while the inactive Leo Santa Cruz is the Association’s Super champion. Next month the Mexican makes his ring return after 18 months out against Keenan Carbajal in a non-title bout.
“I believe it’ll be the Super (version),” Hearn said indicating that the March 12 fight would be given an upgrade.
“Leo Santa Cruz hasn’t defended that title for many years [and] is still no longer fighting at featherweight. I’m pretty sure this fight will be for the Super championship with the WBA which will open so many doors and big unifications as well.”
Hearn sees Wood v Conlan as a 50-50 fight but believes that the champion’s power will prove to be a telling factor against the Olympic medallist.
“Leigh Wood’s done it the hard way. Small hall shows, he’s been beaten, he’s come back. Ben Davison’s done an amazing job. He’s punching very hard, he’s very, very confident. Conlan’s a very well-schooled fighter, great pedigree, great amateur, almost arrogant in terms of his belief of himself which is a good thing for an athlete and a fighter. I see this as a 50-50 fight, but I believe Leigh Wood’s power is going to show in this fight.
“I know he’s boxed TJ Doheny and others, but Conlan’s not been in the deep end in a tough fight yet. There’s a lot of unanswered questions about Michael Conlan. He is a great fighter and he’s going to have it all to do in what will be a raucous atmosphere.”
Click here to watch the interview in full as Hearn talks about the possibility of Fury v Usyk, Okolie v Briedis, Michael McKinson’s chances against Vergil Ortiz, Ryder v Jacobs, Callum Smith and more.