By Ian S Palmer
The WBO World Super-Welterweight Championship will be on the line at the Echo Arena in Liverpool England this Saturday, June 4th when hometown hero Liam Smith defends the belt against Predrag Radosevic of Montenegro. This will be the undefeated Smith’s second defence of the title. His first defence came back in December when he stopped fellow Brit Jimmy Kelly in the seventh round in Manchester. Radosevic last fought against Gabor Kovacs in October and stopped him in the third round. The bout can be seen live in the UK on BoxNation.
The 31-year-old Radosevic is currently ranked number 11 by the WBO and will climb through the ring ropes with a record of 30-1 along with 11 Kos. His only loss came at the hands of former world champion Felix Sturm of Germany by way of a fourth-round stoppage in July of 2013. Radosevic is 5-feet-10-inches tall with an unlisted reach. He’s definitely not known for his power as his current knockout ratio is just 35 percent. He turned pro back in 2004 and has boxed 195 rounds since then. The only recognizable name on his list of opponents is more or less Sturm and things didn’t go to well for him when he stepped up in class.
The 27-year-old Smith is the former British Commonwealth Champion and won the vacant title last October with a seventh-round stoppage over John Thompson of America. The win meant he became the first world champion to hail from Liverpool for 22 years. Smith showed good power against the little-known Thompson and finished him off with fine left hook which followed a punishing right hand. He enters the bout with a near perfect record of 22-0-1 with 12 Kos to his name. Along with his title win and defence, Smith has also beaten the likes of Zoltan Sera and David Romero and fought to a four-round draw with Terry Carruthers in 2010.
Smith is hoping to eventually unify the super welterweight division by taking on IBO and WBA champ Erislandy Lara of Cuba and unbeaten IBF king Jermall Charlo of the U.S. He’s on the short side for a super welterweight at just over 5-feet-9-inches tall and has an unlisted reach. Smith has fought mainly domestic opponents since turning pro in 2008 and has 124 rounds of experience under his belt since then. He’s got decent power in his fists and currently possesses a knockout ratio of 52 per cent.
To be honest, this isn’t the type of opponent fans want to see a world champion take on. No disrespect to Radosevic, but fans of Smith deserve to see a tougher matchup. Smith needs to start meeting a better level of opposition if he has any hopes of taking on and beating world-class fighters such as Lara, Charlo and even Canelo Alvarez. That being said, Smith has the home crowd behind him and the power advantage and has no choice but to beat the likes of Radosevic, which he should do by decision or late stoppage.