Leigh Wood lost his WBA featherweight world title after being knocked out in the seventh round by Mexico’s Mauricio Lara in Nottingham.
Wood, 31, was ahead on all three judges scorecards in a thrilling contest at the Motorpoint Arena, but was dumped by a brilliant left hook and his trainer Ben Davison threw in the towel.
Wood sustained a nasty cut near his left eye after an accidental clash of heads at the end of the first round and was boxing superbly before the big-hitting Lara, 24, delivered his knockout blow.
Lara landed a booming right hook in the second round, which buckled Woods’ legs, but the champion responded with some big shots of his own in the third.
Wood was hurt again by a right-left combination from the Mexican early in the fourth, but again the Englishman dug deep to finish the round strongly.
Lara was visibly hurt by a body shot in the fifth and was caught with another heavy combination before being sent reeling on the ropes in the sixth by a huge right cross from Wood.
But just as the partisan crowd sensed Wood was getting the measure of a dangerous opponent, Lara, who inflicted a first career defeat on former IBF featherweight world champion Josh Warrington, connected with a stunning left hook.
Wood beat the count but was clearly on wobbly legs and his corner threw in the towel.
He won the belt with a final-round stoppage of China’s Xu Can in 2021 and repeated the feat against Michael Conlan last March in The Ring magazine’s fight of the year.