STAR PREVIEW Sat: Liam Smith v Anthony Fowler

Liverpool is a fighting city and it has played host to many local derbies down the years. This weekend it is Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith and Anthony ‘The Machine’ Fowler who will go toe-to-toe in front of 10,000 fans at the M&S Bank Arena. These two have shared a city growing up but they are divided this weekend and this is a fight that has caught the attention of the entire country.

‘Beefy’ is a former world champion and one of four fighting brothers hailing from Kirkdale, Liverpool. Paul, Stephen, Liam & Callum are already part of British boxing history after they all claimed British titles during their careers. A feat that no family has achieved before.

Liam is always surrounded by his brothers but he is very much his own man and has already enjoyed an incredibly successful professional career. The 33-year-old has reached the top of the mountain when he became world champion in 2015 and he has shared the ring with the likes of Canelo Alvarez during his thirteen-year career.

With a record of 29-3-1 (16KO), Smith is a genuine world class fighter and he has only been beaten by top fighters in the shape of Canelo and Jaime Munguia. The third defeat on his record came in Russia against Magomed Kurbanov and its important to state that many believe he would have got the decision in that fight if he hadn’t travelled to Russia.

Smith brings experience to the table but he is a very high-level technician with genuine power in both hands. As a very smart pressure fighter, ‘Beefy’ combines cute defensive tactics with front foot pressure and despite being 33, he remains a top-class competitor and will provide a very stern test for Anthony Fowler.

Anthony ‘The Machine’ Fowler is former standout amateur who he competed at the 2016 Olympics before turning over to the paid ranks. The Toxteth born light middleweight has always been highly thought of but he has not enjoyed the same sort of momentum as his former Team GB teammates.

Despite being just 3 years younger, The Machine has not had the same sort of professional experience as Smith but his record 15-1 (12KO) is impressive and at times during his career, he has looked a very good prospect. The one defeat to Scott Fitzgerald was a huge shock back in 2019, but it exposed some frailties in Fowler that Smith will certainly look to exploit this weekend.

The big positives for Fowler are that he has an exceptional jab and genuine power in his right hand. He is also now working under Shane McGuigan who has brought some positive improvement to his game. When it comes to ability, the former Olympian can make this fight very competitive but he must deal with the mental aspect of a local, sold-out derby and he has struggled to handle the big occasion in the past.

Smith is the favourite at (4/7) with Fowler currently priced at (11/8). Smith deserves favouritism but he will have to work hard to get the victory against Fowler who knows he can’t afford another defeat. Both men have shown terrific heart in the past and this one should go the distance which will suit Liam Smith. ‘Beefy’ to win by decision is a good bet at 5/2.

The undercard is dominated by light middleweight contests with Ted Cheeseman taking on Troy Williamson and Kieron Conway taking on local favourite JJ Metcalf. The winner of these fights will have eyes on the winner of the main event and that makes things very interesting. We can expect these both to catch fire at some point but Conway and Cheeseman are worthy favourites and should have enough to come through.

The rest of the undercard is highly competitive and it is a contest at lightweight that could steal the show. Undefeated scouser Luke Willis takes on the big punching Rylan Charlton who is dropping down two weight divisions after his defeat to the highly touted Florian Marku.

Willis has been kept on small hall shows in his career but he has a big reputation in Liverpool and is managed by former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew. The Liverpudlian is a slick, skilled southpaw and as the underdog he can spring a surprise here. He is (5/4) outright but the price of (2/1) on points appeals most.

Despite the packed card in Liverpool, we also have title action from Birmingham as Brad Foster takes on Jason Cunningham with the European, British and Commonwealth super bantamweight titles on the line.

Foster is the favourite but he faces a stern test against Cunningham who is coming to the ring on the back of beating Gamal Yafai in a fight that he was a huge underdog. While Cunningham will make this tough, Foster should have enough skill and guile to nick this one by decision at (5/4).

BACK Liam Smith to win by decision 1pt at 5/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Kieron Conway to win by KO/TKO 1pt at 5/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Luke Willis to win by decision 1pt at 2/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Brad Foster to win by decision 2pts at 5/4 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (OCTOBER 2021): LOSS -3.16 points
(Excluding ante-post recommendations CLICK HERE)