A new entrant into the 2022 Fight of the Year race came to a frightening end in Nottingham, England when Leigh Wood scored a dramatic comeback knockout of Michael Conlan, sending Conlan through the ropes and crashing to the floor midway through Round 12.
Conlan started well, scoring a massive knockdown in the final seconds of the opening round. He then kept up the pressure on Wood in the second round, flurrying as Wood struggled to get his legs back under him.
Mick Conlan with the early knockdown 👊 #WoodConlan— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) March 12, 2022
After Conlan piled up nearly every round in the first half of the fight, Wood finally began storming back and a truly great fight broke out. Both men threw power shots and traded stretches of pressure and success until Wood scored a knockdown in Round 11. Conlan attempted to protest, claiming he hit the canvas as a result of a slip, though replays did show it to be the result of a punch.
In the next round, Wood left no doubt, stunning Conlan along the ropes before unloading with a flurry that left Conlan slumped against the ropes before his body tumbled out of the ring and to the floor.
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, both Wood and ring announcer David Diamante asked the crowd to settle down and clear a path for Conlan to be taken out of the arena on a stretcher. Matchroom CEO Frank Smith confirmed that Conlan was conscious and stable when he arrived at the hospital.
"I hope Michael Conlan is alright," Wood said after the fight. "I can't really celebrate until I know he's alright, my thoughts are with him."
Despite the scary finish, the fight may be the new leader in the clubhouse for the best fight of the year.