The Show Goes On For Liam Smith and John Thompson

By Jake Donovan

The main event may be down, but the show will still go on for Liam Smith and John Thompson.

The pair of super welterweight contenders will vie for a vacant title on October 10 in Manchester, England, with BoxNation to air live in the United Kingdom. Their bout was originally part of a trio of title fights, but the middleweight heat between defending champ Andy Lee and unbeaten contender Billy Joe Saunders was once again postponed when the challenger suffered a cut during training camp.

Promoter Frank Warren is on the hunt for a replacement bout, but the rest of the show remains intact. The vacant title fight between Smith and original opponent Michel Soro was the last piece added to what was previously billed as a triple title bill. When Soro went down with the injury, Thompson (17-1, 6KOs) found himself in a similar role, and acted accordingly.

“It's a great opportunity for Liam and for John,” Artie Pellulo, Thompson’s promoter acknowledged during a recent media conference to promote the event. “When this opportunity came up, John—who came out of the blue as a last-minute replacement to win the Boxcino tournament—once again came up to accept this fight.

“It didn't take him 30 seconds to say, ‘Yes I'm going to England to fight for the world title.” It is an opportunity for both guys due to circumstances. Neither one of them said no. They both said they want to fight for the world championship.”

For Smith (20-0-1, 10KOs), it’s the chance to beat his brothers to the finish line, in the family quest to bring home a major title. Liam’s brother Paul came up short in two separate bids versus Arthur Abraham, in addition to falling miserably short in his non-title fight with Andre Ward in June. Callum and Stephen Smith both remain in contention, but for now Liam stands the best chance of being the first in his family to claim a major title.

Not that it’s a race to the top.

“There's no rivalry,” Smith insists. “I'm going to be the first but I'm not going to be the last.

As for Thompson, it’s the chance to continue on a Cinderella run.

The 26-year old from New Jersey—has won three straight fights heading into his first title opportunity, as well as his first career fight outside of the United States. All three wins came in his role as a late replacement in the 2015 ESPN Boxcino 154 lb. tournament, scoring wins over Ricado Pinell (10-1-1 going in), Stanyslac Skorokhold (9-0) and bracket favorite Brandon Adams (17-1) to run the tables.

Prior to the tournament, he’d been out of the ring for more than a year following the lone loss of his career, a 2nd round knockout at the lethal hands of Frank Galarza in their matchup of unbeaten super welterweights last January.

Despite the rocky road leading to his unlikely newfound stardom, Thompson wasn’t the least bit surprised when the opportunity came to challenge for a title.

“I was waiting on my chance. I've been boxing for 22 years waiting for this day to come,” Thompson stated. “I want to be number one. I plan on collecting a lot of belts. Number one is the WBO title, then the rest of the champions.”


Tickets for World War III are priced at £40, £75, £125, £200, £300 and £500* and available now from and Manchester Arena on 0844 847 8000.

Jake Donovan is the managing editor of
Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Facebook Page: JakeBScene

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Pacquiao Says No Tune-Up Needed, Mayweather May Have One Miguel Roman: Miguel Berchelt Will Not Withstand My Pace Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez Doubleheader on 11/10 Sergio Martinez Discusses Unbeaten Prospect Jon Fernandez Photos: Luke Campbell, Yvan Mendy, Okolie, Askin - Workouts Photos: David Price, Sergey Kuzmin - Open Workouts Photos: Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin - Putting in Work Fury on Wilder: Klitschko Hit Really Hard Too, It Didn't Affect Me! Arum Amused: I'd Be Conflicted If De La Hoya Ran Against Trump Froch: Joshua Needs to Entertain, Show Fighting Spirit Again Joshua-Povetkin: A Look at Heavyweight Olympic Champions UK News: McCullagh-Kennedy, Edwards-Farrag, Gallagher-Byrne Savannah Marshall Added To Fury vs. Pulev Card Amir Khan: Did You See The Size of Canelo When He Fought Me?! Gallagher Expects Smith To Peak, Shine Against George Groves Chocolatito's Options To Be Evaluated, Yafai Not Ruled Out Lemieux: Golovkin is Not The Same, Rematch Would Be Different Arum: Lomachenko Wants Mikey Garcia Fight Right After Pedraza Frank Warren: I Had Golovkin Beating Canelo By Three Rounds Anthony Joshua Won't Chase a KO: I've Got To Be Clever Now Kevin Johnson Feels Experience Edge May Down Daniel Dubois Hearn: I'm Quite Worried, Povetkin is Tough Fight For Joshua David Benavidez Makes No Excuses, Apologizes For Failed Test Golovkin's Coach: Canelo Vindicated Himself For Positive Tests Energy Execs Glove Up To Knock Out Child Sexual Abuse Frank Warren: Frampton-Warrington is Not Two Recycled Guys DAZN, The New Kid On The Block, Ready For Boxing Kickoff Canelo's Possible Return: December 15 Reserved at MSG, MGM Nacho: Canelo Did Great, But I Think Golovkin Won WBC Prez: Canelo Deserved The Win in Golovkin Rematch David Benavidez Comes Up Positive For Cocaine in VADA Test Wilder vs. Fury Promotional Tour is Ready, Reveals Frank Warren Pacquiao: Me and Mayweather Have Unfinished Business! Encarnacion, Michael Rivera, Starling Castillo Ink With Sampson Photos: Jacobs, Andrade, Haney Training Hard at SNAC Facility Roman Gonzalez Returns Home, Open To Fighting Again in 2018 British Title News: Welborn vs. Heffron, Iqbal-Camacho, More Cem Kilic vs. DeAndre Ware Will Open ShoBox Card on Sept. 28 Michael Dutchover Learning On The Job From Danny Roman Juanma Joins Team of Jayson Velez, Hits Back at Orlando Cruz

Latest Active Forum Threads