Commanding Smith wins with eighth-round KO

Liam Smith defeated Anthony Fowler in a commanding display to win the ‘Battle of Liverpool’ on Saturday with an eighth-round knockout.

Smith, the former WBO light-middleweight champion, weathered a strong start from Fowler to dominate the bout despite suffering a cut above his right eye in the first round.

“It was a great fight,” Smith said.

“I started slow I think, but from start to finish we did a good job. I said all along I had the bigger punches.”

The pair, both from Liverpool, faced off at the city’s M&S Arena for the for the WBA international super-welterweight title.

Speaking about the first knockdown, 33-year-old Smith said: “I thought it was over in the fifth. I let him off the hook a bit.

“This wasn’t an easy win.”

Fowler, 30, added: “I thought I made a good start. He’s a class act. I’m humble in defeat. The better man won.”

Fowler started on the front foot and Smith suffered the cut above his left eye early in the first round after a strong right hand from his opponent.

By the fourth round, Smith began to have more success, working the body and wobbling Fowler with a late flurry.

But Smith failed to capitalise after knocking Fowler to the canvas in the fifth round, and through the sixth and seventh rounds Fowler was able to get back into the fight before being knocked out in the eighth.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, former boxer David Price said: “It was a fantastic battle. There was a clash of styles but what a finish.

“He [Smith] got the game off to a tee. He was taking big shots early on but he’s got world class toughness. Not only that, he showed his clinical finishing tonight.”