Mauricio Lara stripped of title before Leigh Wood rematch amid weigh-in drama

Leigh Wood will be fighting for the ‘vacant’ WBA featherweight title on Saturday, after opponent Mauricio Lara was effectively stripped of the belt for failing to make weight.

Lara took the title from Wood in February by stopping the Briton in Round 7, as the towel came in despite Wood beating the referee’s count after a knockdown. The pair are set for a rematch on Saturday (27 May), but only Wood, 34, will be eligible to leave Manchester as champion.

That was the ruling after Lara came in nearly three pounds over the 126lbs featherweight limit at Friday’s weigh-in. While Wood weighed 125.9lbs, Lara hit the scales at 129.8lbs, after the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) refused to let the Mexican weigh less than 128.5lbs.

The BBBofC expressed concern after a mid-week check suggested that Lara, 25, would struggle to make weight ‘safely’.

Promoter Eddie Hearn told Behind The Gloves on Friday (26 May): “[Lara] cannot win the championship tomorrow night. In effect, the world championship is vacant.

“The WBA have just confirmed to me: The belt is vacant.

“Leigh Wood decided, because his weight was fine, ‘I’m making championship weight; I’m winning a world title on Saturday night.’

“[Lara] feels a little bit hard done by, because he says he could have made weight and he wasn’t allowed to try and make weight. But ultimately, the board decided that he was too heavy at that point during the week to safely make championship weight.”

Wood’s trainer Ben Davison came in for criticism in February, after he threw in the towel with six seconds left in Round 7, despite Wood beating the referee’s count after a knockdown.

Wood, fighting in his hometown of Nottingham, was leading the fight up until that point.

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