It was a quicker night than was expected for Callum Smith, as the 25-year-old British super middleweight prospect and emerging contender laid waste to fellow unbeaten Rocky Fielding, dropping his domestic rival three times in the first round to win the vacant British 168-pound title.
The first knockdown came early, and pretty much set the tone for what was going to happen. Fielding (21-1, 12 KO) was clipped with a right hand that stunned him, and Smith (18-0, 13 KO) immediately pounced, unleashing both hands and swiping Fielding with a left that put him on the canvas for the first time:
Smith immediately went for the finish when the fight resumed, but Fielding held his ground, taking a few shots but making the aggressive Smith miss more often than not. But just as it seemed perhaps he'd weathered the storm, he walked into a left hook that hit him on the top of the head, again ruining his balance and sending him to the deck:
With the time on the clock winding down, and Fielding set to get a breather in the corner, Smith pushed the tempo again, and overwhelmed Fielding with an onslaught of punches against the ropes. Fielding was down a third time, and referee Phil Edwards stopped the fight:
Smith pretty firmly established his dominance at the domestic level with this fight, but the world level still has a couple more steps up, and he likely won't be headed straight into a world title shot. Someone like Marco Antonio Periban, a Mexican veteran somewhat familiar to UK fight fans from his loss to James DeGale in 2014, could be the sort of opposition we see next time out. So far, Smith has passed all the tests, and this one with flying colors.