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Liam Smith vs John Thompson set for vacant WBO belt

Liam Smith and John Thompson will fill the vacancy left by Demetrius Andrade.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

The WBO junior middleweight title was recently stripped from Demetrius Andrade, and the vacancy will soon be filled, as Liam Smith will face John Thompson for the belt on October 10 in Manchester, part of the Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders bill.

Smith (20-0-1, 10 KO) will have home field advantage in the United Kingdom, obviously. The 27-year-old Liverpool native has really done nothing to be considered a true world-level fighter yet, but he did hold the British junior middleweight title, and the same reservations about Smith's credibility as a valid contender hold true for Thompson (17-1, 6 KO), a 26-year-old native of Newark, New Jersey, who won this year's Boxcino tournament in the division after entering as a late replacement.

Thompson's wins over Ricardo Pinelli, Stanyslav Skorokhod, and Brandon Adams in that tournament followed a second round knockout loss to Frank Galarza in January 2014. Smith most recently fought on April 18, beating Argentina's David Romero via TKO-7.

The original plan was for Smith to face Michel Soro for the vacant title, but his management couldn't come to terms for the fight, and Thompson was the next highest ranked contender by the WBO. Along with Lee-Saunders, the show will have a third WBO world title fight, as well, as Terry Flanagan defends his lightweight belt against Diego Magdaleno.

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