Wood v Conlan betting tips: Irishman backed to outclass home champion
Odds and preview for Saturday’s featherweight bout
There is likely to be an electric atmosphere in Nottingham on Saturday night as Leigh Wood puts his WBA featherweight world title strap on the line in-front of his home fans against the unbeaten Irishman Michael Conlan.
Wood was an 11/4 underdog when causing a huge upset and ripping the belt away from China’s Xu Can during Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp series last summer, but he will have to be in the same form, if not take his game to the next level to see off the slick Irish raider.
First bell for the main event at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena is scheduled for around 10pm and all of the action is live on DAZN.
The puncher v the purist
Wood’s head coach Ben Davison describes his charge as pound-for-pound one of the hardest hitters that he has ever trained, which is some statement considering he has looked after the likes of Tyson Fury and Josh Taylor in his training career.
15 of Wood’s 25 wins would suggest there is some truth in that statement and it was by stoppage that the Nottingham brawler claimed the world title in Brentwood last summer. However, his boxing prowess should not be underestimated and he was ahead on the scorecards when stopping the highly-regarded Chinese fighter, Can, in the 12th round.
Conlan meanwhile is a student of the sweet science and one of the most decorated amateurs to turn over to the professional ranks from Ireland. He picked up World, European and Commonwealth gold as well as Olympic bronze in the unpaid scene, but he is perhaps best known for his controversial loss in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Belfast native made his pro debut at Madison Square Gardens in 2017 and although it has taken him five years to earn a world title shot, he has never been troubled, notching up 16 wins from 16 fights.
Blinded by the bright lights
It is unfair to describe Wood as a journeyman, but he is someone who has spent the majority of his career in the shadows and fighting on small-hall shows.
The way he raised his game to world level when taking the Can fight at short notice has to be commended, but lockdown is over and he is now walking out in front of 10,000 fans with an unbeaten and hungry fighter staring him in the face. How Wood deals with that situation could have a huge baring on the outcome of the bout.
In contrast, Conlan has been preparing for this moment for years. Since turning professional with Top Rank he has been no stranger to headlining cards at some of the biggest arenas in the world and has twice packed-out Belfast’s Falls Park for a couple of outdoor extravaganzas.
Davison v Booth
One fascinating aspect of this fight will be the tactical battle in the corners as two of the most well-known and respected seconds in the game go head-to-head.
Davison rose to fame by guiding Fury in his comeback to the ring and has since helped not only Wood to a world title, but Taylor to be the unified 140lb world champion. His training talents have lured America’s Devin Haney to his stable and he will be looking for a second victory in two weeks following Taylor’s controversial win over Jack Catterall in Glasgow.
Meanwhile Adam Booth needs no introduction having stewarded David Haye to both cruiserweight and heavyweight world titles and for a long time has been one of the shrewdest brains in boxing.
Booth and Conlan have looked the perfect match for one another and the Londoner will be hoping to guide his third Irishman to world championship glory, having secured Andy Lee and Ryan Burnett versions of the world title in the past.
The simple way of looking at this is that Wood has a punchers chance and will have to knock out his man to record the victory at 3/1, while Conlan as the superior boxer and perhaps lacking that bout-winning ‘pop’, will be aiming for success on the scorecards at 6/5 in Wood v Conlan betting tips.
However, boxing rarely follows the script and with all the talk of judging controversies in the past few weeks, Conlan will not want to leave too much to chance in front of a packed house in the champions home city.
HEAD 2 HEAD. 😤#WoodConlan
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 11, 2022
Both men came in at the 126lb featherweight limit, but it will be Wood who will be the bigger man on the night and he will no doubt be looking to get on the front foot and search for the dent-making power punches.
However, whereas Can was happy to stand in range and eat up Wood’s shots in their Brentwood barnstormer, Conlan is likely to prove much more elusive as you’d expect for someone with such an amateur pedigree.
If Wood struggles to remain patient underneath the bright lights of the Motorpoint Arena, then he may walk on to Conlan’s own counterpunches and it could easily become a long night for the Gedling resident.
Although only winning eight of his 16 bouts by stoppage, Conlan did drop T.J. Doheny in his most recent encounter and could chip away at the Nottingham man to force a late stoppage.
However, more likely is that Conlan drops Wood on the way to a unanimous decision as was the case in the Doheny bout and it is 2/1 for the 30-year-old to be ahead on all three of the judges’ scorecards at the final bell as the last of our Wood v Conlan betting tips.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication