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UK News: Gallagher on O'Meara; VIP Boxing; More

This week Primetime (SKY Channel 498) is staging several boxing shows, culminating in the 'Earthquake in Essex' bill being shown live from 5.30 pm this Saturday from Brentwood on a free-to-air basis.

 On Thursday night at 7.30, documentaries featuring heavyweight Ian Lewison and middleweight Lee Markham will be shown. This will be followed by a one hour edition of the Fight Show with top pundit and former European champion Spencer Oliver alongside welterweight Tyler Goodjohn and International matchmaker Derek Waddell.

On Saturday, the live action on Primetime starts at 5.30 with eight live fights including two battles between undefeated fighters; Michael Lomax making his ring return; the heavyweight grudge match between Ian Lewison and Dorian Darch; and the Southern Area light-middleweight title rematch between Kris Agyei-Dua and Nathan Graham.

Tickets can be bought at www.goodwinpromotions.co.uk or by calling 01525 851150.

TALENTED BROUGH RETURNS AT LIVERPOOL’S OLYMPIA

Nathan Brough’s promising boxing career gets kick-started again on Saturday December 8 when he clashes with Welshman Paul Davies on VIP Promotions’ ‘Scouse Land’ at Liverpool’s Olympia.

The former England amateur star turned over in 2007 but, after being plagued by hand injuries, was forced to take a three year break from the game, before returning with a win in April this year.

Now, with his mitt problems fully resolved by surgery and rest, the undefeated Scouser is desperate to return to action and ride the crest of the wave that the Merseyside boxing scene is currently on.

“It’s great to see what’s happening in Liverpool at the minute and it makes me think ‘I want a piece of that; I want people chanting my name when I walk to the ring’," said Nathan, who is 8-0 with two KOs.

“I want to be successful like the other fighters in the city, and having time out has made me realise how much I want to get back in the ring and fulfil my potential.

“The few years I’ve had out means there’s no mileage on the clock.  I’m still fresh and I’m coming back with boxing booming.  Liverpool’s a hotbed; it’s thriving and success breeds success.”

Nathan, like any Liverpudlian fighter today, has huge boots to fill.  If the 28-year-old is to follow in the footsteps of title-winners like David Price, Tony Bellew and Kevin Satchell, then decent tests like Davies will need to be negotiated well.

Six foot tall and a boxer who likes to back opponents up, Brough is full of respect for his Olympia challenger and knows he will be coming for his scalp but, come fight night, the light-welterweight will just be pleased to be back between the ropes and making up for lost time.

“His record shows he’s a decent fighter.  He’s taken the fight, he’s game, and I’m respectful of anyone who steps in the ring.  I’m looking forward to getting in there and seeing what he brings to the table.

“It will feel like Christmas come early for me on the 8th.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m training with a couple of lads on the show [Ryan Farrag and Steve Lewis] which is great, and I’m very excited.”

Prestatyn’s Davies, with just a single defeat in six contests isn’t, however, travelling to Liverpool just to make up the numbers.  The 26-year-old, who attributes his sole loss to being weight-drained, sees this contest as a chance to make a name for himself and is sure he can cause an upset.

“I’ve stepped up in weight and feel the best I’ve ever felt.  I’m very confident and have been sparring with Ricky Hatton and Adam Little in the build-up.

“This fight is my opportunity to shine.  He’s got a good record; these chances don’t come around often, and if I beat him then people will stand up and take notice.”

‘Scouse Land’ takes place at Liverpool’s Olympia on December 8 and features Merseyside fighters Nathan Brough; Ryan Farrag; Louis Cuddy; Steve Lewis; Phil Smith, and Sean Dodd.  Wales’ Mark Evans and debutant Kevin Cornish also appear.

JOE GALLAGHER: 'TECHNICALLY, O'MEARA HAS MORE HOLES AND, WHEN IT GETS HARD, HE'LL FALL APART'  

Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith endeavours to become the third member of the famous Liverpool fighting clan to capture a Commonwealth professional title on Saturday week when he fronts up to West Drayton’s Steve O’Meara for the vacant light-middleweight strap at London’s ExCel Arena on Saturday week. It is unquestionably one of the domestic match-ups of this year.

Frank Warren’s end of year extravaganza features a staggering SIX title fights: WBO World Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns defends his title against Jose Ocampo, George Groves defends his Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title against Glen Johnson in the chief support; plus Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders defends his title against Nick Blackwell with the vacant British title also on the line; unbeaten Bradley Skeete challenges Southern Area Welterweight Champion Chas Symonds for his title and WBO International Cruiserweight Champion Tony Conquest defends against Neil Dawson.

Watch the whole ‘Three Kings’ bill live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, Channel of Champions, Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546.  Join at www.boxnation.com

With brothers Paul and Stephen triumphing at super-middleweight and super-featherweight respectively, unbeaten ‘Beefy’ shall be aiming to score a hat-trick for the football daft Scouse siblings.

For the past 18 months, Liam has been honing his craft under top coach Joe Gallagher at the Khan gym in Bolton. Here, in his own words, trainer Joe talks candidly about their time together and why he believes his man is set to triumph over O’Meara.         

“I first became aware of the Smith brothers from my time as an amateur coach but didn’t see many of Liam’s amateur fights; I was more familiar with Paul and Stephen.

Liam had his first seven pro fights (six wins, one draw) with the Vaughans back in Liverpool but followed his brother Paul to my gym in mid 2011. We’ve had six fights together, three stoppage wins, three points wins.

Liam’s actually very good at a lot of sports; football, snooker, tennis....and would have succeeded at whatever he applied himself to. Thankfully, he chose boxing.

He was already very good when he came to me. He doesn’t have blinding speed or Mike Tyson ‘take out’ power but he’s a good all rounder. He’s impressed me hugely with his timing, his shot selection and his placement. He also has good balance and finds the gaps very well, is very accurate. His output is high and he’s a solid body puncher. He’s stopped a few downstairs.

Liam’s also got a very good temperament. He’s very cool and assured; has ice running through his veins.  He’s a good listener who can follow through a game plan. He’s a student who spends time watching and analysing his opponents.

Personality wise, he keeps himself to himself but is a naturally funny kid, a bit of a Victor Meldrew; always whinging but in a light-hearted way.  He’s good to be around; a good gym member who’s popular cos he always supports the other lads.

When he arrived, he had a habit of throwing nice shots, then just standing there and admiring his work which we’ve tried to eradicate. He’s also got better defensively; thinks more about what’s coming back.

I knew he had the ability to shine at six and eight round level but, to test him mentally and prepare him for championship fights, I took him over to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in California last August. That took Liam out of his comfort zone.

He sparred Nobuhiro Ishida, the Jap who knocked out James Kirkland, plus this Nigerian called Wale ‘Lucky Boy’ Omotoso who’s 23-0 (19 stoppages)and they’re all raving about. Liam more than held his own. Being a pasty coloured white kid who fought like a Mexican, he raised a few eyebrows and created interest. I think he’d be far more appreciated if he was based in the US.

Those spars proved to us both that he has what’s needed to make title level. He thrived out there so I know he won’t get intimidated at international level once he cleans out domestically. Hopefully, it’s given him the confidence to really apply himself.

On his return, he won every round of his British eliminator with Gary McMillan without getting out of third gear. He only started warming up in the last two rounds. We decided to dip our toe into the light-middles because, domestically, welterweight is jam packed. As we thought, light-middle has provided us with a quicker route to the titles. Liam’s doing a lot of strength work with his dad Paul Snr,  and he’ll grow into the weight then stay at 154 for a long time.

He’s 24 now so we want this to be his break out year. There’s a sense of urgency to crack on after his performances at The Wild Card.

This is a big step up in class for both but Liam’s ready to step up. He’s definitely had harder spars than he’s had fights. In addition to the American trip, he spent the whole summer in the gym, and had great sparring with (Commonwealth welter boss) Denton Vassell. He’s got the bit between his teeth, is knuckling down and, right now, you can tell he’s really in love with the game.

In O’Meara, he faces a southern version of himself; a deserving fighter who’s chomping at the bit for an opportunity. Steve will enjoy home support and we know he has a good fan base down south. We hear he’s been sparring well with James DeGale and having Jimmy Mac’s experience in his corner will be a big plus for him.

I like O’Meara as a fighter. He went over to the ‘Dog Pound’ to spar Floyd Mayweather which takes bottle and merits respect. He steps in well and clearly can bang with the right hand. We have to make sure he doesn’t come to the ring with that horse shoe in his glove! But I’ve been at pains to warn Liam that he’s far more than just a one trick pony.

He’s got good balance, is sharp with both hands, has a good left hook to the body and, with Jimmy involved, you can guarantee he’ll be exceptionally well conditioned. He seems relaxed and patient but might not be so comfortable on the back foot.

I’m expecting a cagey game of chess for the first few rounds with both looking to impose their authority at every opportunity. But once it warms up, expect it to sway back and forth. It could be a hard fight to score but, if Liam can replicate his gym form, I expect him to win by stoppage late on. He’s got this real ‘never say die’ attitude. I’ve a feeling that, technically, Steve has a few more holes than Liam does and, when it gets hard, he’ll fall apart quicker than Liam does.

I’ve been banging on about Liam Smith for a long time now and see this as his coming out party. Everyone will be pleasantly surprised.”

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