Wood started life as a professional at Clifton Leisure Centre in October 2011 and has appeared on small-hall shows, but he topped the bill at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night in the first defence of his WBA title.
It seemed set to be a short reign as Wood was put flat on his back by an overhand left in the final few seconds of the opening round and while he rose on shaky legs, he was largely outclassed for the first half of the fight.
But he gradually gained a foothold and after evening up the knockdowns in the 11th despite protestations of a slip from Conlan which fell on deaf ears, Wood spectacularly ended proceedings midway through a dramatic last round.
Trailing on all three scorecards, Wood caught his rival flush on the temple with a straight right that left Conlan, arms by his sides, motionless on the ropes before he fell through them after a furious flurry from the local lad.
Referee Steve Gray immediately waved off the fight but Wood's euphoria quickly turned to worry as Conlan's tumble to the floor outside the ring led to him being taken out of the arena on a stretcher before he was transported to hospital.
Conlan issued a reassuring update on his condition via social media in the early hours of Sunday morning but Wood was still visibly shaken by what had occurred in their fight of the year contender.
'No quit in me', says Wood
"It's hard to celebrate when it finished like that," said Wood (now 26-2, 16KOs). "I just gave it everything. I haven't got quit in me, whether it's round one or 12, not for one second.
"It's been some journey to get to here and I wasn't prepared to curl over. There's some massive fights ahead, it's not over yet, this is my peak, this isn't where I finish."
While Conlan called for a rematch after suffering the first defeat of his 17-fight professional career, Wood may be looking to the other world champions at 126lbs, with the WBA's 'Super' titlist Leo Santa Cruz an intriguing option.
Santa Cruz has not fought in the division in three years, though, and it may be that the winner of the upcoming IBF title contest between Kiko Martinez and Josh Warrington is more appealing - with a stadium fight in the offing.
Eddie Hearn, who promotes both Wood and Leeds fighter Warrington, said: "If Leigh Wood fights in Nottingham again, it will only be at the City Ground. That's been his dream for a long time. If it's Vegas for Santa Cruz, we'll see.
"But with the Kiko Martinez fight, if he wins you do the fight at the City Ground. If Josh Warrington wins there's an argument as to whether we go City Ground or Elland Road, but it's a nice argument to have."
Talk of Wood headlining at Forest's home ground - or that of Premier League Leeds - is a far cry from his humble beginnings, with the 33-year-old's career stalled by defeats to domestic rivals Gavin McDonnell in February 2014 and Jazza Dickens six years later.
But he catapulted himself into the big time with an upset victory - also via 12th-round stoppage - over Can Xu last July to become world champion and can now look forward to many more big nights.
"For a long time, Leigh Wood has been scrimping around for no money in the sport, boxing for no money, on the road and the last year or so he's started making money," Hearn added.
"He's dedicated his whole life to the sport and you saw what he went through here, he deserves everything he gets from here and we'll make sure it's a massive fight next wherever it is."
Wood, 33, has not looked back since linking up with Essex-based trainer Ben Davison following his loss to Dickens, but he admitted that has come with sacrifices.
"I'm very emotional," Wood said as he absorbed his win. "I shed a few tears, actually. Being away from my kids is hard but it's worth it."