Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman: “We have some sad news to bring you, the fact that Conor Benn tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. He will be off the card on Saturday night. That fight will be rescheduled as soon as physically possible and when it is safe to do so.
“Leigh Wood against Xu Can for the WBA World Featherweight Title will main event here on Saturday night. A chance for Leigh Wood to become only the second person from Nottingham to become a World Champion.
“We have a great co-main event – the European, British and Commonwealth Title showdown – Tommy McCarthy against Chris Billam-Smith. Jack Cullen against Avni Yildirim now elevated to that main card as well. Anthony Fowler against Rico Muller. Anthony Fowler, Campbell Hatton, Sandy Ryan – a huge night of boxing to come.”
“It’s just the nature of the world we live in now. It’s unfortunate, Conor and I were very gun-ho about this fight, excited about it, chomping at the bit. It’s the day and age we live in, anything can happen now – this unfortunate disease that’s conquering the world right. I’m upset and frustrated but what can we do.
“This says Benn vs. Granados, let’s go. This was the fight that was supposed to happen, Benn’s being talking a lot of stuff. I’ve said some things, but I just wanted to get it on, ready to rumble. It’s unfortunate but I’m hoping for a speedy, 100% recovery for him, no excuses. The 14th August or the 14th September we’ll be 100% ready.”
Xu Can – Beijing, China – 18-2, 3 KOs – defending his WBA Featherweight World Title against Leigh Wood:
“I’m in the best state, I wasn’t able to fight in the last 20 months. I’m fully prepared and looking forward to the fight on Saturday night.
“Now I want to focus on this fight, Leigh Wood is a great fighter and I’m taking this really seriously. I will think about the other fighters after Saturday night.
“We will show the fans a big show on Saturday night. For the fans, I will take the victory back to my family and country. Nothing can stop me.”
Leigh Wood – Nottingham, England – 24-2, 14 KOs – challenging Xu Can for the WBA Featherweight World Title:
“It’s the thing you dream of stepping into the gym as a kid, fighting for a World title. It’s not going to be good enough to fight for one, I need to win. I’m 100% confident in getting the win across the line on Saturday night. I’ve worked really hard, my testament in being in the gym and staying ready, ticking over, and improving with Ben is the reason I’ve got myself ready in short notice.
“My last fight for the British title I only had a short time with Ben, I was working on things and just did as I was told, I just trusted him, and it worked. Now I’ve been back in the gym after that fight, picking things up and now I understand what I’m doing. It’s going to be key for a victory on Saturday night.
“After my last fight I was looked at pursuing one of the champions, but there’s so many names at Featherweight – the division is red hot. I can’t look too far ahead; I’ve got to be extremely focused on Saturday because all of that can dissolve into the abyss. I need to be 100% focused on Saturday night, I am, and I truly believe I will win this fight.”
Xu Can will defend his WBA Featherweight World Title against Leigh Wood on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
Can (18-2, 3 KOs), who is recognised by The Ring Magazine as the No.3 Featherweight in the world, won China’s first ever WBA World Title when he defeated Puerto Rico’s defending Champion Jesus Rojas with a unanimous decision at the Toyota Center, Houston, in January 2019.
At the age of 24 and 10 months, ‘Monster’ created history by becoming China’s youngest ever World Champion, and just the third from the country to win a World Title, with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 118-110 over Rjoas, in what was his second appearance as a pro in the U.S.
He successfully defended his WBA crown at the first attempt by stopping Japan’s former Super-Bantamweight World Champion Shun Kubo in six rounds in his hometown of Fuzhou in May 2019. Can made the most of his hero’s welcome, flooring Kubo in round five before ending the contest in the next round.
Can’s all-action style was on full display in his next Title defence as he threw 1,562 punches on route to inflicting a first loss on Manny Robles III at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, impressively outworking and breaking down Robles over 12 rounds to earn a unanimous decision.
Nottingham’s Wood (24-2, 14 KOs) landed the vacant British Featherweight Title last time out at The SSE Arena, Wembley in February by stopping previously unbeaten Doncaster fighter Reece Mould with a brutal knockout in the ninth round.
Wood, who is trained by top coach Ben Davison, has only lost twice in his 26-fight career – a sixth round stoppage defeat when challenging Gavin McDonnell for the vacant British Super-Bantamweight Title in just his 12th pro fight and a narrow points loss to eventual MTK Golden contract winner Jazza Dickens last year.
“I have been idled nearly 20 months without a fight,” said Can. “In the past 5 months in Miami, my coach Pedro Diaz has worked me very hard. This is by far THE best preparation for my Title fights. I feel that I am in an excellent status, physically and mentally. In the next 3 weeks, my goal is to focus on the training and preparation. Leigh Wood is a tough opponent to face and he also has the privileges to fight at home. I must devote 200% of efforts to keep my Title. I can’t wait to see how I turn out on July 31.”
“Opportunities like this don’t always come around, I won’t need another,” said Wood. “I’m going to be World Champion. He’s very good volume puncher, if you let him fight his fight, you’re in for a hard night. I know what I have to do, and I will be exchanging on my terms.”
Benn vs. Granados tops a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, WBA Featherweight World Champion Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea, Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
WHEN IS Xu Can vs Wood? DATE, START TIME
Date: Saturday, July 31
Time: 7:00pm BST / 2:00pm ET
The card takes place this coming Saturday, and the main bill of fights is set from 19:00 local time.
WHAT CHANNEL/STREAM ?
The whole card will be broadcast globally on DAZN except for Australia and New Zealand.
WHERE IS THE FIGHT?
The card will take place at Matchroom HQ in Essex, England.
FULL FIGHT CARD
18:15 BST LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL
6 x 2 mins Super-Lightweight contest
SANDY RYAN 144lbs 7oz v KIRSTIE BAVINGTON 144lbs 3oz
(Derby, England) (Pensnett, England)
19:00 BST LIVE ON DAZN
10 x 3 mins IBF International Super-Middleweight Title
AVNI YILDIRIM 163lbs v JACK CULLEN 163lbs 7oz
(Istanbul, Turkey) (Little Lever, England)
10 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
ANTHONY FOWLER 155lbs 4oz v RICO MUELLER 156lbs
(Liverpool, England) (Eberswalde, Germany)
4 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON 135lbs 9oz v JAKUB LASKOWSKI 135lbs 8oz
(Manchester, England) (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland)
12 x 3 mins European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles
TOMMY MCCARTHY 199lbs 3oz v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH 199lbs 5oz
(Belfast, Northern Ireland) (Bournemouth, England)
12 x 3 mins WBA Featherweight World Title
XU CAN 125lbs 3oz v LEIGH WOOD 125lbs 5oz
(Beijing, China) (Nottingham, England)