Liam Smith uses experience to defeat a game Anthony Fowler
This is a crossroads fight for Anthony “Trojan” Fowler (15-1, 12ko) and former WBO junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (29-3-1, 16ko). The winner continues towards a championship while the loser is faced with making a tough decision.
Fowler is riding a six-fight win streak since the last defeat to undefeated Scott Fitzgerald for the vacant WBA International junior middleweight title back in March 2019. Moreover, he is looking to push towards a championship. He ranks #10, #11, #13 by the WBO, WBA, and IBF, respectively. The 30-year-old British fighter has an amateur win over top-rated undefeated junior middleweight Troy Williamson, who just so happens to be on the undercard.
Smith is on his last leg in the sport of boxing. The 33-year-old is in a win-or-go-home situation. Ranked #5 by the WBO, a loss could send him into retirement. Moreover, the former world champion will be looking to use his experience to his advantage in this fight. In 2016, he lost the title by knockout at the hands of boxing’s mega-star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. He was unsuccessful in reclaiming the title against Jaime Munguia in 2018. Things have not gotten any better as he is coming off a loss to undefeated Magomed Kurbanov, who is ranked #2, #5, and #14 by the WBO, WBA, and IBF, respectively.
THE BLOOD WAS FLOWING
Fowler came out using his hand speed and footwork, keeping the former champion off balance. He would cause a cut over Smith’s left the eye early with those crisp jabs and right-hands down the middle. Smith would show that championship experience by cutting off the ring, getting in close, and landing hard, right-hand counters and body shots. He also returned the favor by cutting the left eye of Fowler.
In round five, the more experienced Smith, stalking and coming forward, landed a beautiful right-hand that sent Fowler to the canvas. Fowler beat the count and took a pummeling until the bell sounded, ending the round.
THERE ARE LEVELS TO THIS
The fight would continue and it was obvious that Smith was waiting to land another big punch. Fowler was doing good and being the busier fighter, landing the jab and left hooks to the body. However, Smith was coming forward just looking to touch his opponent with compact right hooks and body shots.
Finally, in the eighth round, Smith came forward and clipped Fowler with a short right-hand. He followed it up with a left hook to the body and back upstairs, sending Fowler to the canvas for the second time in the fight.
Fowler once again beat the count, but his body language betrayed him, causing the referee to call for the stoppage. Liam Smith keeps his boxing career off life support and walks away with the WBA international title.
THE NEXT MISSION
Smith made it clear in the post-fight interview his next target is two-division champ Jessie Vargas. He mentioned the win over Fowler should have allowed him access to the former champion. Matchroom Boxing chairman Eddie Hearn agreed and stated the Smith vs Vargas fight would indeed happen early next year!
By: Garrisson Bland