By Ian S Palmer
The WBO World Interim Super Welterweight Championship is on the line at the Manchester Arena in England this Saturday, April 8th as Liam Smith takes on undefeated Liam Williams in a big British domestic clash. Smith is a former WBO world champ who beat Marian Cazacu by a four-round decision in a tune-up bout on March 18th while Williams last fought in November and stopped Gabor Gorbics in the eighth round. The bout between the two long-time rivals can be seen live in the UK on BoxNation and BT Sports.
Smith won the vacant WBO title against John Thompson via a seventh-round TKO in October of 2015 then defended it against fellow Brit Jimmy Kelly in the seventh round two months later. He then defended against Predrag Radosevic by a second-round stoppage last June. However, he lost the title last September when Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez stopped him in the ninth round. Smith is also a former British Commonwealth Champion and is the first world champion to hail from Liverpool for 22 years.
The 28-year-old has an impressive record of 24-1-1 with 13 Kos and has also beaten the likes of Zoltan Sera and David Romero. His draw was a four-round affair with Terry Carruthers in 2010. Smith is on the short side for a super welterweight at just over 5-feet-9-inches tall and has an unlisted reach. Other than Alvarez, Smith has fought mainly domestic opponents since turning pro in 2008 and has 139 rounds of experience under his belt since then. He’s got decent power in his fists and currently possesses a knockout ratio of 50 per cent.
Williams hails from Wales and is just 24 years old. He’s undefeated with a perfect record of 16-0-1 with 11 Kos and has boxed 75 rounds since turning pro back in 2011. Williams is an inch taller at 5-foot-10 and also has an unlisted reach. The only fight he hasn’t won was a third-round technical draw with Tyan Booth in December of 2013. Smith has pretty good power as well with a current knockout ratio of 65 per cent and has eight straight knockouts.
But Williams, like Smith, has taken on mainly domestic and Grade B and C opponents up to now even if he is the British, Commonwealth and European Champion. Smith certainly has the edge in experience by going nine rounds with Canelo Alvarez, so it can actually be safe to say that Williams is stepping up in class against Smith on Saturday. Neither boxer is world class at the moment, but this should be an entertaining contest.
Smith is a pressure fighter while Williams has the better boxing skills here. Like most big domestic tilts this one is 50-50. Logic would dictate that Smith has the edge because he went nine rounds with Alvarez, but that doesn’t mean much here. If Smith can’t beat Williams though his hopes of more big-money fights against top-level opponents will diminish. I haven’t seen much of Williams up to now, but think Smith should beat him if he’s at his best. Needless to say, if he’s not in top form he loses, but let’s give Smith the benefit of the doubt.