By Elliot Foster
Liam Smith has issued an apology after failing to make weight.
The Liverpudlian, who is a former world champion, will return to the ring on Saturday, exclusively live on BoxNation and BT Sport.
But Smith will be unable to take the first step towards becoming a global ruler again –– even if he does defeat unbeaten Welshman Liam Wiliams (16-0-1, 11 KOs) at Manchester Arena.
‘Beefy’ (24-1-1, 13 KOs) initially weighed 11st 1lb and 15oz and was told on the scales that he would be given an hour to lose the excess poundage in order to make the championship weight.
Williams, who came in within the limit at 10st 12lbs 8oz – the lightest he’s ever tipped the scales as a professional, will, however, be the only participant within the highly-anticipated 50-50 showdown to be able to win the vacant WBO interim super-welterweight title.
Smith failed to return to the scales to weigh in for a second time, but he has explained his reasoning behind it.
“Firstly, I would like to apologise to all of my team and to Team Williams, to [promoter] Frank [Warren] and to the WBO,” he wrote in a statement released on social media.
“After a good training camp I misjudged the weight and couldn’t do any more this morning.
“It’s been a long time –– seven months –– since I last made the championship weight. No excuses, though.
“But can I clarify that today [Friday] I was told twice that I had one hour to make the weight limit, which I decided it wasn’t long enough and would have been dangerous and detrimental to me if I did so, to then find out over 40 minutes later that I had actually had two hours, which would have 100 per cent changed my mind in trying to lose the weight.”
The British Boxing Board of Control confirmed shortly after the weigh-in that Smith –– who took part in a four-rounder in Barcelona last month, in order to get a win under his belt to make him eligible to box for the vacant WBO title, per the organisation’s rules –– was given the two hours to get the weight off.
“This is the first time I have missed weight in eight years and, like I said, I apologise,” Smith continued.
“The fight still goes ahead and believe me, my punishment in not being able to win the belt is hurting enough, trust me.”