By Stephen Hidderley
Two Liverpool fighters Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler clash in a 12-round super welterweight bout in the M&S Bank Arena this weekend.
The fight has been eagerly anticipated since the announcement at the back end of July.
But it really picked up steam in the first press conference after Smith refused to shake hands. It is being labelled as a Liverpool Derby.
Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith is a seasoned professional who made his pro debut in October 2008.
He is making his 34th ring walk this Saturday.
The 33-year-old is a former world champion and successfully defended his WBO title twice before falling to defeat against one of the pound-for-pound greats in Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The Kirkdale man is coming off a unanimous decision loss overseas to Magomed Kurbanov.
Anthony ‘Machine’ Fowler made his debut in 2017 after his underwhelming Rio Olympics campaign.
Despite falling short in the Olympics, the 30-year-old had an excellent amateur career in which he won a Commonwealth gold medal and finished with an outstanding record of 190 wins and 19 losses.
The former Team GB fighter has suffered one loss in his 16 pro bouts so far.
That was to Scott Fitzgerald on a Liam Smith undercard at the Echo Arena.
Since the defeat, Fowler fought twice more under trainer David Coldwell.
He was victorious in both before he parted ways and joined Shane McGuigan’s gym down in London.
Under McGuigan, Fowler has stopped all four of his opponents and made notable improvements.
Liam’s older brother and two-time world title challenger, Stephen Smith said: “I see the fight being lively early on with the hot atmosphere.
“I see the fight settling down around the 4th round and that’s when Liam will show the level he’s at by finding a home for his shots more frequently.
“He will stop Fowler after round 7 but if Fowler is brave enough and feeds off of the home atmosphere then I can see Liam winning by a comfortable points decision.”
Former British boxing champion, Paul Edwards said: “I fancy Beefy to win by TKO after six rounds. I think it will be a lively start, but Smith will take him out.”
The bookmakers have Liam Smith as a clear favourite at 1/2 and Anthony Fowler at 6/4.