By Mark Whalley
- Callum Smith wins battle of Liverpool in first round
- In doing so, Smith wins the British Super-Middleweight and WBC Silver titles
- Incredibly, all four Smith brothers have now held British Titles
Liverpool, UK – The eagerly-anticipated matchup between Merseyside’s two unbeaten super-middleweight prospects ended early and dramatically, with Callum “Mundo” Smith overwhelming Rocky Fielding in round one to underline his world title credentials.
It is sadly not always the case in boxing that unbeaten prospects face each other in their ascent up the rankings. Rightly or wrongly, the risks are perceived to outweigh the rewards – the winner progresses, but for the loser it can be a long, hard slog to return to where they started from.
It happened a few years ago, when “Saint” George Groves fought James “Chunky” DeGale when both could have chosen to focus on less dangerous assignments. Ironically, it has been DeGale – the loser that night – who has gone on to win a world title, with Groves seemingly unable to make that final step up to world level. But Chunky had to endure several years in the wilderness first.
More recently, Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jnr fought in a terrific contest that elevated both fighters. But this is a relative rarity in the sport.
So it must have been with trepidation that proud Liverpudlians Smith and Fielding penned a contract to meet at the Echo arena. Both were aware of the skills that the other possesses, as well as the knockout power.
The result will suggest a blowout in Callum Smith’s favour, but it was exciting whilst it lasted. After the briefest of feeling out periods, Smith took control in the first real exchange, flooring a stunned Fielding after just thirty seconds with a clever left upperhook following up several hard-looking right hands.
Rocky looked stunned but not hurt, but although he regained his feet he could not gain any foothold, and found himself weathering wave after wave of Smith assaults.
Midway through the round Smith seemed to take a breather – throwing endless punches is tiring, after all – and Fielding landed an uppercut of his own. Unfortunately for him, this prompted his only real attack of the fight, which ended in him walking into a hurtful left hook that bounced off the top of his head.
This time, he clambered to his feet far more gingerly. It was no surprise when he was back down on the canvas seconds later.
In standing up a third time, Fielding’s bravery could clearly not be questioned, but there was no way referee Phil Edwards could allow the fight to continue. Smith had won in just two minutes and forty-five seconds.
In doing so boxing history was made, with Callum joining his brothers Paul, Stephen and Liam in winning British titles.
It is to be hoped that this piece of matchmaking is indicative of a new willingness to pit British fighters against each other rather than protecting them.
Looking forward, Anthony Joshua looks set to finally meet long-standing rival Dillian Whyte in December; while the real crown jewel of domestic fights – years in the making – looks set to occur next year, with Bury’s Scott Quigg taking on Belfast’s Carl Frampton with two world titles on the line.
With luck the interest these fights generate will finally spur Amir Khan and Kell Brook to broker an agreement to meet in the ring – they have spent far too long posturing and trading barbs from afar.
But for now it is Callum Smith who should enjoy the limelight. His latest victory firmly propels him into the super-middleweight picture. Perhaps George Groves next?
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