As anticipated, the WBA has formally ordered “super” featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz to face “world” champion Leigh Wood as a part of their surprisingly constant title discount effort. The pair have 30 days as of at present (which means till Could sixth) to come back to phrases and keep away from a handbag bid.
Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KO) has not really defended his title since cruising previous Rafael Rivera in February 2019. His three appearances since have seen him declare a giftwrapped tremendous featherweight belt in opposition to unranked 126-pounder Miguel Flores, lose it to Gervonta Davis in profoundly violent trend, then finish a 15-month layoff in opposition to Keenan Carbajal.
The Carbajal combat was purported to be at featherweight, however then it simply…wasn’t for some purpose.
In a roundabout approach, the WBA’s refusal to do its job is what gave Wood (26-2, 16 KO) this chance. Then-IBF champ Josh Warrington wished to face WBA “world” champ Xu Can, however the IBF refused to just accept a unification with a secondary titlist and ordered Warrington to rematch Child Galahad. As an alternative, Warrington vacated the title and ready for Xu with what was purported to be a stay-busy combat in opposition to Mauricio Lara.
Everyone knows how that turned out. This left Xu to lose his belt to Wood, who went on to cease Michael Conlan final month in 2022’s present Battle of the Yr frontrunner.
It is a very well-matched combat with rather a lot on the road for these 33-year-olds. Santa Cruz can put himself proper again within the combine with a win, whereas Wood will get the chance to name himself a real world champion. Loads of motion potential, too.