Michael Conlan and Leigh Wood are two highly accomplished boxers who have made it to the top of their craft. When it comes to the featherweight division, they are some of the most highly skilled, with both having come off comprehensive victories recently.
The fight will be Michael Conlan’s first world title fight of his professional career, while Leigh Wood will be looking to successfully defend his WBA (Regular) featherweight title for the first time. It is one of the more highly-anticipated matches, but when can boxing fans expect it to happen?
Securing the Purse
The first hurdle that had to be cleared when setting up a date for the contest was securing the purse. As Leigh Wood enters the fight as the champion, he has a 55% entitlement. However, although he is champion and may be heading for a bigger payday, he isn’t the favorite for the fight. If you bet on boxing with Betfair, they have Conlan favored at -188, which may be a surprise to some.
Conlan enters the fight with only a 45% claim to the prize money, but that is still sizeable. Matchroom Boxing won the purse with a $1.5m bid compared to Top Rank’s $1.2m. Eddie Hearn’s promotion will pay Wood $825,000, while Conlan looks set to earn $675,000.
With the purse set, Matchroom Boxing will now look to get the wheels in motion of setting a date for this blockbuster fight.
Venue the Next Issue
With Eddie Hearn securing the fight, his next big question will be where to have it. His main concerns would be whether he wants to hand Conlan a home advantage, even though he fights under Top Rank, or trusts Leigh Wood to attract a big enough crowd if he was to get the local nod.
Conlan has made his intentions clear and believes that the title match should be in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day. He believes that he is a big enough draw for Madison Square Garden and would make Hearn a lot of money. The Irishman has been known to draw big crowds in the best venues, and with a large following if he were to fight there, or in Belfast, might be too much for Matchroom Boxing to turn down.
On the other hand, Wood has fought extremely hard to be in the position he is today and should be shown respect as the champion. To blatantly hand a challenger such an advantage may not be perceived well by the boxing community. However, would Wood be able to draw a massive crowd in his native Nottingham?
With many things still left to be finalized, along with promotion leading up to the fight, it would be difficult to see this fight happening in 2021 or even in the first two months of 2022. With that said, it seems that Conlan’s estimation of a March matchup might be spot on; whether that be on St. Patrick’s Day is another story. The dream may be New York City, but it would be relying on Conlan’s draw of Irish Americans.
The reality may be that the venue favors Wood, but fans could expect this fight sometime around March next year.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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