Chris Billam-Smith vs Craig Glover is a five-round war while Anthony Fowler vs Harry Scarff fails to ignite
With Lawrence Okolie having won the European title last time out and moved on from domestic supremacy, the British cruiserweight division appears wide open. Richard Riakporhe and Jack Massey will meet for the vacant Lonsdale Belt on December 19 while at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool tonight, the chief support to Callum Smith vs John Ryder was for the Commonwealth strap. Vying for the prestigious but ownerless title were hometown talent Craig Glover and Bournemouth’s technically accomplished Chris Billam-Smith, who had lost a split verdict to Riakporhe in July. Glover, managed by Tony Bellew, had been beaten twice, most recently in March via upset stoppage to an average opponent.
Billam-Smith looked significantly the larger man and Glover was nicked by the left eye as early as the opener. Both proved pleasingly aggressive, with the rangy Billam-Smith more effective at distance and Glover having more joy in close.
Billam-Smith had suggested during the build-up that he would silence the Liverpool fans but they were loving the exciting bout early on, helped by the South Coast man opting to trade rather than attempt to win off his excellent jab. By the end of round three, with both marked up, it was hard to see this going the full 12.
Billam-Smith floored Glover with a double left hook at the close of the fourth, but Craig rose and returned to his stool. Chris came out landing hard combinations from the start of the fifth as Glover beckoned him on. That bravado did not help however as another big left soon dropped him again. A third and final knockdown precipitated the belated stoppage.
It certainly appears Anthony Fowler still has a point to prove after his first professional defeat, a tight one to bitter rival Scott Fitzgerald in March. This is despite a solid comeback win in August over Brian Rose. Local super-welter Fowler is chasing the Fitzgerald rematch but happy to take risks in the meantime, hence tonight facing unbeaten English champ (belt not at stake) Harry Scarff of Derby.
The tall switch-hitter only won the belt in September, when a last-minute illness suffered by headliner Fransisco Fonseca, elevated his contest with Jack Flatley to main event status on national TV. He had momentum on his side.
Smartly, against a tricky operator, Fowler cut the ring off and threw in combination, while remaining patient. Scarff moved and pot-shotted. He was frustrating Fowler but not landing enough to win many rounds by the halfway point of a 10.
It was rarely exciting, more of a chess match. With just one early finish in eight wins, Scarff probably needed to triumph on points, but often failed to show sufficient impetus or ambition. The lead right hand, to head and body, worked well for Fowler, especially when Scarff was in the southpaw stance. Harry came into things more from round seven, but was decked by a short left hook in the ninth, quelling his rally. Fowler took the decision by 98-91 for all three judges.
An interesting lightweight clash pitted big-punching Ulsterman James Tennyson against Welsh workhorse Craig Evans. Tennyson dropped Evans in the first and battered him in the next, but Craig recovered to make a fight of it before being finally stopped in round 11.
In a Liverpool vs Birkenhead derby, the latter’s Sean "Masher" Dodd took a majority, four-round technical decision over the local. It was hoped this would be a war between two honest grafters who always give their all, but a cut right eye, sustained by Farrell in a head clash, prematurely curtailed what had been exciting fair.