LEIGH WOOD has described his training team, led by Ben Davison, as “game changers” ahead of Saturday’s fight against Josh Warrington.
Nottingham’s Wood defends his WBA featherweight title against Leeds’ Warrington on neutral territory at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday (Oct 7) and at today’s final press conference the subject of punch power was raised. With 64 fights between them, 24 have finished inside the distance, yet two thirds of those belong to Wood. The 35-year-old is a reputable puncher but doesn’t believe the fight will necessarily come down to who hits the hardest.
“Power probably won’t be the deciding factor on Saturday night,” Wood said. “There are a lot of other things that go around it. The culture of the trainers in this country is like whoever wants it more will win; whoever is the strongest and hits the hardest will win; whoever’s the fittest will win. It’s a load of bollocks. And as my team is slowly coming [in] and changing the game, there’s a lot more to boxing than what people see. My perception has changed since being down with Ben (Davison) and you will see that on Saturday night.”
Sitting at the top table to Wood’s left, with promoter Eddie Hearn sandwiched in between, Warrington demonstrated a greater belief and eagerness to win by stoppage on Saturday.
The 32-year-old former champion is not recognised as being heavy-handed but did manage to force a seventh round TKO win over Kiko Martinez in March 2022, even if that was perhaps prematurely ended by referee Marcus McDonnell. Prior to that Warrington had recorded just two wins before the final bell in 10 fights – against Patrick Hyland and Sofiane Takoucht, respectively.
“These days I can adapt, and my boxing brain has matured,” Warrington said. “My power is developing; my strength has developed. It’s about being economical with punches rather than throwing 85 punch combinations. Set up shots a little bit more. You have different stages of your career and I feel like I’m in a good stage. It’s easy to say but I need to show it.”
He added: “My knockouts have come at championship level; my stoppages have come when it’s mattered most.
“I know I can dig. [It was] my first 15 fights before I got [a] stoppage. People like to think I’m not a puncher but it’s also a bit down to my style. I’m not a one punch Edwin Valero puncher [but] I’ve got enough there to hurt Leigh and I’ll be very confident he doesn’t hear [the] final bell.”