BOXXER promote at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool this Saturday night, and in the main event, Liam Smith aims to keep on track to become a two-time world champion, as he tackles Hassan Mwakinyo over a scheduled twelve rounds at super welterweight.
Sky Sports televise Smith vs Mwakinyo live in the UK.
Smith (31-3-1, 18 KOs) became WBO champion in October 2015, stopping John Thompson in seven rounds, and defended twice before being knocked out by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in the ninth round in September 2016.
Back-to-back thrilling wins over Liam Williams laid the foundations for another title shot, but the Liverpudlian found Jaimie Munguia too good as the Mexican took a points win in July 2018.
Three comeback victories left ‘Beefy’ on course for yet another crack at world honours, and he was unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a points loss to Magomed Kurbanov away in Russia.
Since then, the 34-year-old has won twice, stopping Anthony Fowler in eight last October, and halting Jessie Vargas in ten in New York in April.
Mwakinyo (20-2, 14 KOs) is next up, and the 27-year-old is on a ten-fight winning streak.
He is best known for being a near complete unknown in September 2018, designed to be a stepping stone for a fight against Brandon Rios.
The Tanzania native didn’t read the script, and ruined Eggington in two rounds.
The ‘Tornado’ hasn’t been seen on these shores since, fighting in Tanzania and Kenya, and he was last out in September last year, stopping faded former world champion Julius Indongo in four.
Prediction: Smith will have an eye on world level, but will be professional enough here to deal with the threat of Mwakinyo. I expect Smith to dominate, and force a stoppage around halfway.
Jonas in unification clash
There’s a world title unification action on the undercard, as WBO super welterweight champion, Natasha Jonas and WBC champion Patricia Berghult meet.
After a draw with Terri Harper for world super featherweight gold in August 2020, and a close points loss to Katie Taylor for the undisputed lightweight title in May last year, Jonas (11-2-1, 8 KOs) finally became world champion in February, stopping Chris Namus in two rounds.
Sweden’s Berghult (15-0, 3 KOs) won her title in November last year, outscoring Olivia Belcakem for the vacant belt.
Prediction: Jonas can continue her Indian summer with a points win here.
Azeez defends British crown
Dan Azeez defends his British light heavyweight title for the first time, as he faces former champion Shakan Pitters.
Azeez (16-0, 11 KOs) won the vacant belt by stopping Hosea Burton, and outscored Mason Cartwright in his last fight in a non-title match.
Pitters (17-1, 6 KOs) lost his Lonsdale Belt to Craig Richards in a thriller and stopped Cartwright in his last outing.
Prediction: The pick is for Azeez to retain late in a cracker.
Adam Azim (5-0, 4 KOs) is a massive talent, and the super lightweight should put on another show in an early win against Michel Daniel Cabral (5-4, 1 KOs).
Frazer Clarke (2-0, 2 KOs) appears on the bill, and the heavyweight who struck bronze at the Tokyo Olympics should deal with Pencho Tsvetkov (7-0, 5 KOs) inside the six round distance.
Diego Costa (8-0, 5 KOs) was due to meet John Docherty, but their fight again fell through, so he instead faces Musa Moyo (4-0) in a super middleweight six rounder that he can take on the cards.
At middleweight, Paddy Lacey (6-0, 1 KO) should outscore Seamus Devlin (1-37-1) over four rounds, and at lightweight, Frankie Stringer (1-0) can do the same against Karl Sampson (1-10).
Tal Singh makes his debut, and the minimumweight can take a four round points win against Matias Hamunyela (2-1), while another debutant in welterweight Clark Smith should take care of Petar Alexandrov (4-20, 2 KOs).