Leigh Wood v Josh Warrington: Predictions from pros and pundits for world title fight

Leigh Wood faces off with Josh Warrington

Venue: Utilita Arena, Sheffield Date: Saturday, 7 October
Coverage: Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live coverage from 22:15 BST; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app from 21:00 BST

Leigh Wood has the opportunity to confirm his status as Briton’s best featherweight when he fights Josh Warrington on Saturday.

The 35-year-old defends his WBA featherweight title against two-time world champion Warrington in Sheffield.

Warrington, 32, is the underdog despite his stellar career and being three years Wood’s junior, after losing the IBF strap to Luis Alberto Lopez in December.

Can Wood retain his title and march on to unification fights or will Warrington cause an upset and reclaim his world champion status?

The fight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:15 BST, while the BBC Sport website will have a live text commentary page from 21:00 BST, featuring all the build-up and undercard action.

Here are predictions from some big names in the world of boxing.

World champion Leigh Wood: “I’ve got my scouting report. Without giving anything away, I could finish this inside the distance. And I could do it and look really good.”

Challenger Josh Warrington: “Knockout win for Josh Warrington. “I’ve [won world titles] arguably against better fighters. So first time for Leigh really, taking him to somewhere he’s not been before.”

Scottish fighter Hannah Rankin: “I think this is going to be an all-action fight but I’m going with a late stoppage from Wood.”

Retired ex-world champion Anthony Crolla: “I can make a case for both Wood and Warrington winning this. It could be Wood in rounds one to six or Warrington late on in the fight. If pushed for a prediction, I will go for Warrington to put in one more brilliant performance and become a three-time world champion.”

Boxing trainer Dave Coldwell: “They both realise this fight is everything and how much is riding on it. Momentum is with Wood and I will say he wins the fight but if Warrington makes it into a rough, tough fight and can make Wood feel uncomfortable then that gives him a bit of an edge.

“But I feel Wood is the better boxer and carries that extra bit of power. He is very good at making his range count and if he does that I think he wins that.”

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith: “An interesting fight. Wood coming off a great win back in May, avenging a KO defeat, and Warrington coming off a majority decision loss to a superb fighter and solid puncher in Lopez. For me it’s a pick ’em fight but due to what he overcame last time out I’m edging towards Leigh Wood.”

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Barry Jones: “It’s a fight where you have to put Wood as the favourite. It looks as if Warrington may have lost a bit of intensity in his work and that intensity is what made him such a good fighter at world level.

“Saying that, I’m going against the grain and I’m going to pick Warrington. I think Wood has the discipline and power to be a nightmare. But I do feel Warrington’s strength is that tight guard and he rushes you with his work. That might make Wood revert to pre-world title Leigh Wood and that’s where Warrington might get to him.”

Middleweight prospect George Liddard: “Personally for me, Wood wins it. That explosive power we’ve seen in the fights and I think he’s got a better boxing brain. He’s switched on. But I don’t think it’ll be an easy fight. Warrington comes to fight and works hard so he could definitely cause him some problems with pressure. A Wood win, maybe between rounds five and seven.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn: “Wood is a big believer in his punch power. Warrington thinks he can steamroll Wood, he thinks he can run him over. He is going to come out like a train and he is going to try and stop Wood in this fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if both hit the deck in this fight and I think it’s over in six rounds. Could go either way.”

Flyweight world champion Sunny Edwards: “Warrington is one of those fighters that I promised myself I wouldn’t write off again. It’s whoever imposes their style on the fight better and Warrington is great at imposing his style.”

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