|Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan
|Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
|Saturday, March 12, 5pm ET (main event)
|Leigh Wood odds
|Michael Conlan odds
With a dearth of top-class boxing on American soil this weekend, attention turns to Nottingham, England, for an interesting featherweight clash between two emerging contenders.
That Leigh Wood (25-2, 15 KOs) holds a lightly-regarded version of the WBA’s world title should be largely cast aside - neither are presently considered as being among the elite in their division - but a win for either man here would put them squarely in the discussion for a tilt at the top names at 126lb.
Both fighters come into Saturday night in good form and with significant momentum. Wood, previously thought to be a solid, if unspectacular, British-title-level operator, forced his way into the international picture last July. A breakout win as a +300 underdog against the much-fancied Can Xu means that only Conlan (16-0, 8 KOs) now stands between the man nicknamed ‘Leighthal’ and brighter things ahead.
It’s Conlan, however, who is the betting favorite here, and that should be no real surprise. The unbeaten Olympian is still best known for his time in the amateur code - most notably his controversial exit from the 2016 Games - but is now quietly building up a head of steam in the paid ranks. Conlan’s path to his perfect 16-bout record hasn’t all been plain sailing - a debatable majority decision over the unheralded Ionut Baluta being the closest to derailing his handlers’ ambitious plans - but his pedigree and fluid skill set should equip him to see off the lower half of the 126lb top ten at the very least. At a best-priced -163, the layers give the Belfast man an implied 62% which, on both first glance and on closer inspection, holds appeal.
Wood is both the hometown favorite and promotional house fighter here, and both intangibles should be factored in positively by bettors when trying to price a match-up themselves. At a general +150, he’s been handed a 40% implied win probability which, before the Can Xu fight, would have been unthinkable. Excluding that, Wood’s best wins include the likes of Ryan Doyle, Reece Mould, David Oliver Joyce - all decent fighters in their own right, but well within the realms of a domestic scene. It would, however, be unfair to tag Wood’s career-best performance as anomalous — at 60%, 15 stoppages from 25 wins is a modest KO record, but it’s worth noting that all of Wood’s last six wins have come inside the distance, clearly reflecting that the Nottingham man is punching with more authority now than at any point prior.
A common mistake boxing bettors often make is to overcomplicate their approach in search of larger payouts, and this fight could be a classic example of that. The technical, sometimes cautious approach of Conlan is reflected in his lack of knockout wins (8/16, 50%) and all signs point here to another decision win for the road fighter. A quote of +120 is both an attractive and logical play - even with the potential hurdle of home judging to clear - but Wood has been hurt and stopped before, and Conlan could throw caution to the wind to avoid the arena crowd allowing their man to make the result closer on the cards. Odds resembling a 60/40 matchup in Conlan’s favor appear to underestimate a perceived gap in class and, though it’s not the most exotic selection, -163 for him to win by any means represents good value.
Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan free boxing pick
Michael Conlan (-163)
The enthralling main event in Nottingham comes after a busy undercard including some fancied prospects. Here's the full card from the Motorpoint Arena.
Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan
Terri Harper vs Yamila Belen Abellaneda
Caoimhin Agyarko vs Juan Carlos Rubio
Gary Cully vs Miguel Vazquez
Sandy Ryan vs Erica Farias
Thomas Whittaker-Hart vs Simon Krebs
Thomas Carty vs Michael Boloz
Nico Leivars vs Jose Hernandez
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To Win Fight
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