Chris Billam-Smith bounced back very nicely from a close July loss to Richard Riakporhe, beating down Craig Glover in five rounds to win the vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight title today in Liverpool.
Glover (10-3, 8 KO) was game and landed good right hands here and there, but Billam-Smith (10-1, 9 KO) just had too much for him, too well-rounded. The 29-year-old Billam-Smith worked behind his jab, setting up good hooks and right hands, and wound up dominating a fight that was competitive in the first three rounds.
Glover, 28, was dropped hard late in the fourth round, and had that knockdown come earlier, he might not have made it out of that frame. Billam-Smith wasted no time going back on the attack in the fifth, putting Glover down again, just battering his opponent, who bravely kept coming forward but at that point was being totally smashed.
Referee Mark Lyson probably could have stopped it after that second knockdown, but didn’t, and neither did Glover’s corner. So the fight went on, and Billam-Smith closed the show, hammering Glover down and forcing Lyson’s hand.
“It was a must-win fight,” Billam-Smith said. “Craig’s a very good fighter, I was scared coming into that fight because I knew how good he was, and how tough he was. Craig Glover’s a better fighter than his record suggests. He’s a lovely bloke, as well.”
“I knew if tonight didn’t go the way it just did, it was a long road back,” Billam-Smith added. “The nerves were there, that’s what kept me sharp and switched on early on.”
“We want that Riakporhe rematch,” trainer Shane McGuigan said. “I believe if they box again, Chris gets the win.”
Anthony Fowler UD-10 Harry Scarff
Not exactly the most thrilling showing for Fowler (11-1, 8 KO), who joked with the matchmaker after the fight, asking, “Who picked him?” regarding his opponent. Scarff (8-1, 1 KO) had no power to keep Fowler honest or particularly engaged, but he was difficult to look good against, cleary, and Fowler really didn’t do a lot of significant damage. He did drop Scarff in the ninth round, and he only lost two rounds on each card (scores were 98-91 across the board), so he won without question, but it wasn’t exactly a memorable fight.
Promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to have Fowler rematch Scott Fitzgerald, who now holds the British title at 154 pounds after a win over Ted Cheeseman in October. Fitzgerald beat Fowler in a dramatic and exciting bout in March, and Hearn wants to make that for May or June in 2020, with Fowler saying he’d like to take another fight in the interim, possibly in February.
Thomas Whittaker-Hart TKO-5 Josip Perkovic
Perkovic (6-11-1, 3 KO) is a 26-year-old Croatian who is familiar to UK fight fans those who watch UK cards the last couple years, as this was his seventh time coming over for a fight against a prospect. He usually gives rounds, but he sort of oddly quit in the fifth here, and there’s speculation he had some sort of jaw injury, either a dislocation or a fracture. Whittaker-Hart (4-0, 2 KO) is 24 and while it’s still real early to judge him, looks like his upside might be high domestic level.
Sean Dodd Maj. TD-4 Tom Farrell
There wasn’t really much to split these two, really, because we only got four of a scheduled 10 rounds before the fight was stopped due to a cut on Farrell caused by an accidental clash of heads.
Dodd (17-5-1, 3 KO) gets the win, though, on majority decision scores of 38-38, 39-38, and 39-37. So that’s a hell of a tough 30th birthday for Farrell, who falls to 17-3 (5 KO), but in all reality it’s not like it seriously changes the direction of his career or anything. He’s a domestic-level fighter, same as Dodd. He’ll keep filling spots on undercards, same as Dodd. That’s not an insult, but it’s not like this unfortunate loss will cost Farrell anything significant in his path forward, that’s all I’m saying.