By Gary Mushrow [@Gary9690]
This weekend Liam Smith may be at the beginning of something great for British boxing. The tough Liverpool super welterweight contests for the WBO version of the world title tomorrow night at the Phones4U arena, a mere 45 minutes from his home city.
The third of four Smith boxing brothers fighting out of Liverpool, Liam becomes the second to contest for a version of the world title after elder brother Paul’s double attempt against Arthur Abraham in Germany in 2014-15.
The family talent doesn’t stop there however, as a world title fight beckons for mandatory challenger and brother Stephen against super featherweight Jose Pedraza in early 2016, whilst younger sibling Callum heads into a crunch clash with fellow highly rated super middleweight contender Rocky Fielding in November this year.
For now though, the prestige of become the first world champion of the four fighting brothers rests solely upon Liam.
Tomorrow marks the seventh year to the day since the start of his career within the professional ranks; twenty wins and a sole draw have earned him a shot at one of boxing’s most prestigious crowns – by all accounts the timing seems just right. Winning the British, Commonwealth and a host of international titles along the way, Smith has developed into a concussive body puncher under the stewardship of trainer Joe Gallagher – a fact exemplified by stoppages in his last five outings.
The WBO crown was stripped infamously from champion Demetrius Andrade earlier this year for failure to defend; Andrade had already dispatched of Britain’s Brian Rose in a mis-match contest in May last year, and against Thompson, Smith will undoubtedly fancy his chances better than Rose did those sixteen months ago.
Promoter Frank Warren deserves credit for attaining the purse bid for the contest on British soil, giving his fighter the best possible chance at achieving upon the world stage. Heading up the main event sees Manchester WBO world champion Terry Flanagan defending his lightweight crown against mandatory challenger Diego Magdaleno.
If Smith were to emerge victorious from the contest, he would join an illustrious group of current British world champions including Kell Brook, James DeGale, Lee Selby, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Jamie McDonnell and of course Terry Flanagan.
Not to mention fighters soon to contest world honours in Tyson Fury, Martin Murray, Stephen Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Derry Mathews; a win here and the flood gates could well and truly open for the home nations. On Saturday, Smith looks to set a precedent, lets get behind him.