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Mauricio Lara stripped of WBA featherweight title before Leigh Wood rematch

Stripped: The WBA featherweight title is now vacant, with only Leigh Wood able to win it in Manchester  (Action Images via Reuters)
Stripped: The WBA featherweight title is now vacant, with only Leigh Wood able to win it in Manchester (Action Images via Reuters)

Mauricio Lara has been stripped of his WBA world featherweight title on the eve of what would have been his first defence of the belt against Leigh Wood.

A swift Manchester rematch of Lara’s thrilling seventh-round knockout win from February descended into farce on Friday, when it emerged that the champion was nearly four pounds over the featherweight limit at 129.8lbs.

It transpired that the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) had been unhappy with Lara’s weight at a routine check earlier this week and subsequently prevented him from trying to cut in the days before the weigh-in, ruling it was not safe and that he could not tip the scales at less than 128.5lbs.

However, Wood himself was on track at championship weight at 125.9lbs and keen to still fight for the title despite the potential safety risks involved of giving up so much weight to a huge-hitter like Lara.

The WBA later made the decision to strip the Mexican, with only Wood now able to pick up the vacant belt with a win on fight night.

The bout is still set to go ahead at the time of writing, though Wood’s trainer Ben Davison suggested his team had a decision to make about whether or not to proceed on safety grounds.

“Realistically, it shouldn’t be happening, should it? It’s a disgrace to be honest,” he told DAZN. “I’ve got nothing against Mauricio Lara and the whole team – they’ve been respectful all the way throughout – but it’s an absolute shambles.

“We heard about his weight while Leigh’s on weight. There’s no point then going, ‘oh Lee, let’s just bring you up’... there are going to be smarta***s that say, ‘why did you bring him in at championship weight’? Leigh is already at championship weight.

“What’s the point in then Leigh not being able to win the title tomorrow?

“We’ll have to go away and talk amongst ourselves and have a look at the situation. He’s a dangerous fighter anyway. I know he has really struggled to just get to where he’s got to, so it’s something else we have to take into consideration.

“Leigh’s whole motivation behind this is to become a two-time world champion.”