Smith vs Fowler: a clash between two of the city's favourite boxing stars - The Guide Liverpool

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Smith vs Fowler: a clash between two of the city’s favourite boxing stars

20/09/2021

The city of Liverpool is one that is intimately acquainted with the importance of a derby.

Usually the tribal nature of these events is strictly reserved for football and Blue vs Red. On Saturday the 9th of October however, the focus switches to boxing – and a clash between two of the city’s own sons – when Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler clash in front of what is sure to be a packed out M&S Bank Arena.

Not since the halcyon days of Neary v Holligan and the infamous ‘Nark in the Park’ has the city’s boxing fraternity been whipped up into such a frenzy. To many it seems like an unlikely match up, with the 3rd brother of Liverpool’s most famous fighting family having mixed with much loftier company compared to the stand out amateur, Fowler.

Indeed to say that Smith has dined at boxing’s top table would be no understatement, with fights against the much feared Jamie Munguia and a meeting with boxing’s pound for pound king Canelo Alvarez on his CV. Not to mention the small matter of him being a former WBO champion of the world.

Fowler, for his part, was a long standing member of the Team GB squad and an Olympian. His professional career has not yet reached the stellar heights of Smith (although he hasn’t been a professional as long) with his most recognised step up in company being a bout against Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald where he was on the end of a marginal points defeat.

This is a fight that has really captured the imagination. Not just amongst the Liverpool boxing brotherhood but also of the entire country. It tops the bill and has many calling it a ‘pick’em’. Styles make fights, as the old adage goes, and both of these men are relentless front foot fighters. Indeed given both men’s propensity for fighting on the inside this battle could’ve been sanctioned in a phone box and would still be incredibly entertaining to watch!

Smith is looking to reignite his world title ambitions and is coming off the back of what most boxing observers would deem a robbery against Magomed Kurbanov in May. However disappointing the result for the Liverpool man may have been, it will undoubtedly have shaken off any ring rust in preparation for Fowler.

Fowler looked impressive in his last outing when halting Rico Mueller in July in the Matchroom fight camp. This was a continuance of the improvement he looks to have made since his defection from Dave Coldwell’s gym to the burgeoning stable headed by Shane McGuigan.

But as is widely observed when the city’s football teams meet, form will go out of the window. It’s a derby and both men are incredibly fired up for this one – a point illustrated by Smith’s refusal to shake his opponent’s hand at the initial press conference.

What we have here, above all else, is a testament to Liverpool being recognised as one of the world’s great boxing cities. Two local lads, both hugely successful in their own right, battling for supremacy in front of a crowd destined to be as divided as any Liverpool v Everton game.

For all of the city’s boxing fans, myself included, let’s just sit back and enjoy the inevitable fireworks.

You can book the last of the tickets available for A Night of Championship Boxing at M&S Bank Arena on Saturday 9 October here.

By Richie Elder

Get all of the latest news for Liverpool and beyond here.

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