Liam 'Beefy' Smith became the first of the famous fighting Smith brothers from Liverpool to become the world champion last night in Manchester, and boy - did he do it in style. ________________________________________________________________________________ Fighting for the vacant WBO light-middleweight crown against tall American John Thompson (from Newark, New Jersey), Smith had to come from behind in what was a dramatic win…
Liam Smith Stops Brave Kelly To Retain WBO Title
WBO 154lbs titlist Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith defeated a spirited challenger in ‘Jimmy’ Kelly
Liam Smith Stops Brave Kelly
The fight got off to an exciting pace that saw both men get out of the blocks quickly, with the pre-fight underdog Kelly equipping himself well, landing some nice uppercuts on the champion, but Smith also countered Kelly well with the left hand – using his punches economically.
As the early rounds progressed Smith began upping the tempo, really using the left hook well at times, working in three quarter range and looking comfortable. To Kelly’s credit however, he really dug in and landed some good uppercuts pf his own, but the pick of the shots were coming from the champion.
The fourth round saw Smith switch from the body to the head of Kelly very well, and was opening up a lead on the scorecards over the valiant Kelly by this point.
Smith started walking Kelly down in the mid rounds, so much so that in the sixth round, a clearly frustrated Kelly launched what must be said was a fairly disgraceful headbutt on Smith. Referee Marcus McDonnell deducted Kelly two points for the outrageously deliberate foul.
The seventh round was the beginning of the end for the brave Kelly, who after visiting the canvas (that was strangely not ruled a knockdown) had his corner throw in the towel to save him for another day.
Liam Smith improved his record to 22-0-1 (12KO).
(Image credit: Action Images / Peter Cziborra)