Liam Smith targets first family world title in John Thompson bout
Coming from a passionate boxing background, Liverpool’s Liam Smith is aiming to become the first of his family to lift a world title at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night when he contests John Thompson for the vacant WBO light-middleweight belt.
Smith’s eldest brother Paul fell short during two world title attempts against Arthur Abraham in his career and Stephen will soon fight Jose Pedraza for the IBF super-featherweight strap, while youngest sibling Callum is highly-regarded for the future.
Although, it’s Liam who has the immediate chance to bring world title success to the family and he is 5/2 with Coral to secure a points decision victory this weekend over 26-year-old American opponent Thompson.
The 27-year-old Merseysider is desperate to have that WBO strap around his waist come Saturday night, and potentially set the standard for his fellow fighting brothers to follow in the near future.
“I never thought I’d be the first because I’ve never been the first to do anything out of us in boxing terms,” said Smith. “Whatever I’d done they’d been there beforehand. They all turned pro before me, won British titles before me.
“I’ve watched them enjoy the buzz around big fights now I’m looking forward to enjoying it myself. I’m looking forward to the buzz being around me as world champion because we haven’t had that yet.”
‘Beefy’ Smith will enter the MEN Arena ring with an impressive record of 20 victories from his 21 professional contests, with a single draw in a four-round bout at the beginning of his career the only slight blemish, but he isn’t taking anything for granted in his quest for success.
“I’m expecting the best John Thompson, I’d be a fool to expect anything less. He’s fighting for the world title, so we’re prepared for the best John Thompson,” declared Smith.
“My preparation has gone brilliantly. My weight is down, I think we are going to leave no stone unturned, we’re going into it having covered everything.
“What’s going to happen is I beat John Thompson, so I’ll be the first of us brothers to be a world champion.”
The WBO belt which is up for grabs was left vacant after a dispute between former holder Demetrius Andrade and the governing body, with Michael Soro supposed to have been Smith’s title opponent, but international issues forced the Frenchman out and Thompson was drafted in.
Smith’s challenger Thompson (17-1, 6 KOs) has never been involved in a 12-round bout before and was dispatched in the second round by Frank Galarza last January, but the American is confident in a fight which he is 4/1 to win by stoppage.
“First and foremost, I’m a pure boxer; smart, intelligent, adaptable,” stresses self-managed 6ft 1in stylist Thompson, who has lost just once in 18 paid starts.
“Victory will be the start of John Thompson dominating the junior-middleweight division, picking up all the belts that Floyd Mayweather left behind. I intend to be considered number one at 154, the best I can possibly be.”
Smith’s title-shot comes as part of an exciting night in Manchester, where home hope Terry Flanagan aims to topple Diego Magdaleno and defend his WBO lightweight crown, while Clitheroe’s commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge is odds-on 10/11 to overcome Lee Markham.
Though, Liverpudlian Smith will attempt to grab the headlines by becoming the first of his talented brothers to claim a world title on what should be an enthralling night of boxing at a rapturous MEN Arena.
Betting tip: Liam Smith to beat John Thompson on points @ 5/2