Liam Smith refused a handshake and revealed that he thinks Anthony Fowler may struggle to deal with the pressure ahead of their local battle in Liverpool on October 9.
The pair square off in the main event off a Matchroom Boxing show at the M&S Bank Arena, and will be broadcast live worldwide on DAZN.
The undercard will see Troy Williamson challenge Ted Cheeseman for the British super-welterweight title, Kieron Conway go up against JJ Metcalf, plus the return of Blane Hyland.
A press conference took place in Liverpool, and those in attendance all made their intentions perfectly clear ahead of the event later this year.
Shane McGuigan, trainer and manager of Fowler, expects a very tough contest.
“This is a huge step up for Anthony, we can’t obviously make any mistakes, Liam Smith in the number one light middleweight in Britain, he’s a former world champion, he’s been in with Canelo and Munguia. He is the best fighter in the division, but I think it’s an opportunity that Anthony has to take," McGuigan said.
“Anthony’s 30 years of age, it’s an opportunity that I believe he’s going to grab with both hands and win. It’s a fantastic fight and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I wouldn’t be taking this fight if I didn’t believe Anthony was going to win. I believe if Liam loses to Anthony Fowler he's in a difficult place, but that’s why he’s taken it, he’s confident of winning. I believe we’re going to come away with the victory.
“It all goes out the window once that first bell is rang. Fight week is going to be a challenge because it’s something new, the pressure of being the headline, the fight being a local derby as well. He’s sort of had that with Fitzgerald and it’s just another experience but I don’t believe it’s going to hinder his experience.”