Liam Smith won the battle of Merseyside, as he took Anthony Fowler’s WBA International super welterweight title with an eighth round stoppage win at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Saturday
Former WBO champion, Smith was unfortunate to drop a decision out in Russia in his last fight to Magomed Kurbanov in a loss that dropped him down the rankings. A mooted meeting with WBO number one, Tim Tszyu didn’t come to fruition, and instead Smith opted for a Merseyside clash against Fowler, who came into this one on the back of six straight wins since a March 2019 loss to bitter rival, Scott Fitzgerald.
A cut opened on Smith’s right eye in the very first round, and a right hand from Fowler wobbled ‘Beefy’.
A right hand forced Fowler (15-2, 12 KOs) to momentarily hold in the second, and Smith (30-3-1, 17 KOs) got the better of the frame with some crisp left hands.
The ‘Machine’ hurt his rival in the third, nailing him with a couple of hard right hooks, and Smith just about held on as he saw the round out.
Although Fowler was getting the better of the action, he was constantly under pressure, and a nasty cut had now appeared on the left hand side of his face as Smith cranked up the heat.
The 33-year-old made a major breakthrough in round five, with a massive, counter straight right hand flooring Fowler heavily.
He bravely made the count, and fought fire with fire on the resumption, and did well to regain his senses to see out the round.
After a much quieter sixth, Smith continued to cut the ring down, and made the telling contribution in round eight, with a superb, cuffing left hook with Fowler on the retreat dropping him for a second time.
The 30-year-old rose unsteadily, and referee Howard Foster rightly waved the fight off.
Promoter Eddie Hearn told DAZN post-fight that Smith would face Jessie Vargas next year.
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Williams stops Cheeseman to become British champion
Troy Williamson became the new British super welterweight champion with a stunning tenth round knockout of the gallant Ted Cheeseman, in a fight of the year candidate.
Both men had their moments in the early going, with rounds difficult to score, but the contest really heated up in its second half, and Williamson (17-0-1, 13 KOs) had the champion hurt in the sixth before Cheeseman (17-3-1, 10 KOs) had the ’Trojan’ out on his feet in the following round after stunning the Darlington man with a big right hand.
However, he was unable to apply the finishing blows as the round came to its conclusion. Back came Williamson though, in what was a superb fight, and he hurt Cheeseman to the body in round nine.
Williamson had never been past ten rounds prior to this clash, and he didn’t have to here, as he uncorked spiteful and clean left hands, and a right uppercut followed by a left hand left Cheeseman down and out, with his legs underneath him, and the count was dispensed with.
Mitchell beats Courtenay to become world champion
Shannon Courtenay lost her WBA bantamweight title on the scales, coming in over two pounds overweight, and Jamie Mitchell (7-0-2, 4 KOs) claimed the title anyway, as she turned in a superb performance to take a deserved majority decision victory.
Courtenay (7-2, 3 KOs) blamed the missed weight on the beginning of her menstrual cycle, and she arrived in the ring with a heavy support on her right knee.
The American took the fight to the Brit from the off, controlling the tempo, and beating Courtenay to the punch with regularity, and although the former champion battled in the latter stages to get back into the contest, it was too little too late, as the ‘Miracle’ became the new belt holder by scores of 97-93 and 96-94, with a third judge somehow returning a 95-95 card.
Courtenay looked crestfallen and stunned at the announcement.
Conway decisions Metcalf
Kieron Conway took the victory in the battle of former British title challengers, winning a unanimous decision over ten rounds against JJ Metcalf.
Two scores of 96-95 and a third at 96-94 gave Conway (17-2-1, 3 KOs) the win, with his punch picking and sharp boxing skills just edging the brute force and come forward style of Metcalf (21-2, 13 KOs).
Willis pips Charlton
The English lightweight title eliminator went the way of Luke Willis, who picked off Rylan Charlton with his boxing skills to record a win over ten rounds by majority decision, by scores way closer than the fight suggested.
Charlton (6-2-1, 3 KOs) struggled with the slippery southpaw skills of Willis (11-0, 1 KO) and, although the 30-year-old had a point taken off for holding in the final frame, the Liverpudlian took the win by two scores of 95-94, while a third judge scored it a 95-95 draw.
McGrail makes successful professional debut
2020 Olympian Peter McGrail made his pro debut, and the likeable Liverpudlian showed off his repertoire of skills in a six round points win over the brave Ed Harrison.
McGrail (1-0) hurt Harrison (2-9) to the body in the final frame, but the underdog held on to see the final bell, where McGrail took a 60-54 verdict.
Dacres overcomes Sokolowski
Solomon Dacres (3-0, 1 KO) was given a tricky test for his third professional fight, but the Midlands-based heavyweight passed with flying colours with an eight round points win over the tough Pole, Kamil Sokolowski (10-23-2, 4 KOs).
The visitor was unlucky to drop a decision to David Adeleye in his last outing, but there can be no complaints at the 78-74 card in Dacres’ favour.
Davies Jr back to winning ways
Robbie Davies Jr was a surprise late addition to the card, and he returned to winning ways after a loss last time out with a fourth round stoppage win over Jonny Phillips, who was stopped for the first time but was fighting weights above his normal class.
Davies Jr (21-3, 14 KOs) was under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan for the first time, and constantly hurt Phillips (5-8, 2 KOs) with power punches until the referee had seen enough.
Hyland claims points win
Liverpool’s Blane Hyland opened the show and moved to 5-1 as a professional, turning in an assured performance in a four round points win over France’s Santiago San Eusebio (3-2-2, 2 KOs).
Hyland ran out a 39-37 winner for referee Michael Alexander.