WBA says Santa Cruz must defend against Leigh Wood, rejects Rey Vargas’ unification request
Via Brian Webber: The WBA gave ‘Super World’ featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz of the World Boxing Association 24 hours to accept a fight with ‘regular’ champion Leigh Wood.
They also rejected a Santa Cruz unification match (38-2-1, 19 KOs) against WBC champion Rey Vargas (36-0.22 KOs).
It will be up to Santa Cruz, 33, and his manager at PBC whether they agree to fight Wood (26-2, 16 KOs), who fights on DAZN and was promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. .
This could mean Santa Cruz will quit his WBA 126-lb title and facing WBC champion Rey Vargas.
Unfortunately, there is very little chance of the Santa Cruz vs. Wood will take place because of cyber issues, just as it’s not one of the things that interest US boxing fans.
Wood isn’t a household name in the United States, and it’s going to be a bout that heavyweight boxing fans will love to watch. Leigh is not a big star in his own country, so Santa Cruz has nothing to gain by fighting him other than holding onto his 126-lb WBA belt.
Santa Cruz can win other titles, as he has shown, and he won’t lose sleep over vacating his WBA belt.
“@WBABoxing refused to allow @leosantacruz2 to merge with @reyvargasbox. He’s asking you to face @itsLeighWood and 24 hours to respond if he agrees to fight Wood,” ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez said on Twitter.
The move makes Eddie Hearn happy that Wood is going to enter the WBA ‘Super World’ slot without a fight, but it’s not a great way to claim the more noble title.
Wood currently holds the 126 lb ‘regular’ WBA belt he won last year, beating Can Xu by knockout in the 12th round in July 2021.
In Wood’s first defense of his WBA sub-belt, he defeated Michael Conlan in a 12th round knockout last March. Conlan dominated Wood for most of the game until he got tired of the championship rounds and was stopped.
If Wood can get his hands on the WBA ‘Super World’ title, he could hold it for a while as the World Boxing Association are arguably inferior contenders ranked in the top seven. .
The one Wood needed to worry about most was two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez, but he was safely buried in eighth place in the WBA rankings.
Wood won’t have to worry about Robeisy for at least two or three years. That would give Wood time to defend his WBA title four to six times before facing Robeisy, and possibly losing the strap.
Rey Vargas is on an impressive 12-round win over 126-lb WBC champion Mark Magsayo on July 9. Vargas overtook Magsayo, easily winning a one-sided skirmish. with the score given by the jury.