The third time proved to be a charm for the stateside version of Liam Smith.

The former junior middleweight titlist from Liverpool, England picked up his first career win in the United States, scoring a 10-round decision over veteran spoiler Roberto Garcia in their preliminary bout Friday evening at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Scores were 99-91 twice and 98-92  in favor of Smith, who lone two career losses have come on U.S. soil.

Action picked up as the bout progressed, although never fully shifting out of first gear. Smith came to fight, while Mexico's Garcia—who accepted the fight on short notice—did his best to make things as frustrating as possible for the visiting Brit.

Smith had his first significant moment of dominance in round three, targeting his opponent's midsection. The 39-year old Garcia responded the best way he knows how, ramming his head straight into Smith's face, which drew a stern warning from the referee. Smith continued to come forward, sticking out his jab and following up with quick right hands against an oft-retreating Garcia.

With the fight rapidly slipping away, Garcia—following a tongue-lashing from his corner—picked up the pace in the middle rounds. Smith braved the surge and the rough tactics, but reached a point where he realized the fight was going rounds and adjusted his mode of attack accordingly. Garcia continued to win by any means possible, but would have to settle for a moral victory along with a bloodied mouth and swollen jaw for his efforts as he falls to 42-5 (29KOs).

Smith improves to 29-2-1 (17KOs) with the win, his third straight. His prior two losses both came in title fights, losing his 154-pound belt to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez more than three years ago in Arlington, Texas and dropping a competitive but clear decision to unbeaten Jaime Munguia in his failed title bid last July in Las Vegas.

The bout streamed live on DAZN in supporting capacity to the super middleweight debut of Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29KOs) versus a considerably heavier Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33KOs) in a battle of former middleweight titlists.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @Jake Donovan