Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle -Former junior middleweight champion Liam Smith (26-1, 14 KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over Liam Williams (16-2-1, 11 KOs) in a WBO world title eliminator. The scores were 114-114, 116-112 and 117-111.
This was a rematch of their heated April encounter. In the first meeting, Smith failed to make weight for the bout when he came in at 156-pounds. In the bout itself, he was cut on the right eyebrow in the third round. The fight was stopped in the ninth, and Smith - who was behind on the cards - got the win after Williams was deemed in no position to continue after suffering a double laceration to the right eyelid.
Smith has been trying to rebuild his career after suffering a knockout loss, which saw him lose his WBO world title, to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez last September.
The rematch started at a very close pace. Both fighters were finding minor spurts of success by the second round, but neither was gaining a clear edge by this point.
Neither boxer was taking risks in the few rounds. They were both picking their spots and looking for the right openings before throwing punches.
The action was picking up in the fifth, as both were becoming very active with their punches and shooting their jabs quite often. Williams may have nicked the round after a solid combination that forced Smith to hold on.
Smith then changed his tactics over the course of the next few rounds, choosing to box smart off the jab and making Williams miss his counters.
In the tenth, Williams knew that he might be behind on the cards and start taking the fight to Smith, who was more than willing to trade punches with him. Williams go the better of the exchanges. Smith got right back in the fight in the eleventh, boxing smart and trading when necessary when Williams pressed forward.
The twelfth saw Smith landing the better shots as Williams appeared to be tired and lacking the proper steam on his punches.
Also on the card, Nathan Gorman added another belt to his collection. The former Central Area heavyweight king won the WBC International Silver bauble in Newcastle.
Gorman, trained by Ricky Hatton, is just 21 and produced a mature display at the Metro Radio Arena, exclusively live on BT Sport and BoxNation. He was up against Mohamed Soltby after the original clash with Nick Webb, for the vacant English title, was moved away from.
Soltby offered very little during the fight, but a Gorman uppercut –– which Hatton had been calling for for some time from the corner –– landed the German in a spot of bother, forcing referee Marcus McDonnell to take up the count. In defeat, Soltby –– who managed to survive the first knockdown –– moves to 13-1.
The end came with 10 seconds to go in the fifth round after a barrage of shots from Gorman (11-0, 9 KOs) and McDonnell stepped in to save the other man.