Matchroom Boxing has been rightly criticized in recent months for their below average fight cards in Britain but the Saturday night show at the M&S Echo Arena in Liverpool, England has the potential to keep the doubters quiet and the broadcasters at Sky Sports relatively happy, for a while at least.
After all the success in the last few years and endless recognition for playing their part in the British Boxing boom, it’s been a poor start to the year by their standards. I’m sure Eddie Hearn would have to admit that the quality has slipped since the launch of DAZN in America.
Matchroom Boxing’s stand-out show so far was last Weekend at the Copper Box Arena which was headlined by WBC Flyweight champion Charlie Edwards alongside a strong London association of fighters including the new British champions in Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie and Light-Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi.
Matchroom clearly over shadowed the Queensbury Promotions night over on BT Sport which incidentally was on at the same time, even though Frank Warren went on record at the start of the year stating that these kinds of clashes would not happen. The only silver lining is at least they weren’t pay-per-view. With so many events scheduled this calendar year, it’s inevitable that fans will be torn between shows.
Getting back to this Weekends action, Matchroom’s new signing Liam Smith (26-2-1, 14KOs) will headline against Sam Eggington (24-5, 15KOs) alongside a strong Merseyside connection with every fight involving a Liverpudlian. This should add a bit spice to the atmosphere with clear fan favorites to support.
Starting with the main event, Light Middleweight Smith is coming off the back of a defeat to Mexican sensation Jaime Munguia in the summer of last year. The 30-year-old makes his long-awaited home return after almost a three-year absence. ‘Beefy’ is the former WBO champion at 154lbs and has only ever failed against the world’s elite but has excelled at domestic level.
Sandwiched in-between his defeats to Canelo and Munguia, Smith overcame Liam Williams twice winning the first inside nine-rounds due to a serious cut and the second by majority decision. With a combined opponent record of (396-383-2) the British No.2 will be the overwhelming favorite against his younger and tough Brummie opponent.
Eggington is a former EBU European Welterweight champion who featured in two prize-fighter tournaments early in his career before finding his feet in the professional ranks. ‘The Savage’ has claimed some decent scalps throughout his career with excellent wins over Frankie Gavin, Glenn Foot and Ceferino Rodrigue but his eighth-round knockout of a faded Paulie Malignaggi is a clear highlight so far.
Since moving up in weight Eggington has won 3 out of 4 but holds a combined opponent record of (355-271-25) which indicates the number of guys he has fought with winning records.
This probably shouldn’t be a headliner, but it is a decent fight, nevertheless. Smith has shared the ring with some real quality operators and has all the fundamentals necessary to beat Eggington convincing although, he is five-years his senior so youth may play a part. Eggington’s come forward style will suite Smith if he picks his shots wisely and keeps him on the backfoot.
In Eggington’s last defeat against a natural Light-Middleweight Hassan Mwakiny he was stopped in the second-round. Eggington will stand toe-to-toe and take unnecessary shots when in trouble. His instinct is not to clinch, get out of danger or even cover up for that matter therefore Smith will be too strong and clever for Eggington. I’m going with a mid-round stoppage, possibly a liver shot by Smith.
There is a tasty domestic encounter on the undercard also in the 154lb division between two unbeaten and untested fighters Anthony Fowler (9-0) and Scott Fitzgerald (12-0). Whoever gets the win will be in line for a shot at the British title against Ted Cheeseman so there is a lot at stake. It’s great that both have decided to take this fight so early in their careers, a gamble that both will learn more from in this one fight alone. I’m going for a Fowler victory.
The once upon a time darling of Matchroom boxing David Price (23-6, 19KOs) makes his long-awaited return to the Echo Arena after almost a six-year absence. The last time big Pricey made his walk to the ring in the same venue was on July 6, 2013, in the rematch against Tony Thompson. The 6’ 8” giant was originally tipped for stardom in the Heavyweight division at that point but as we all know those plans never materialized.
Price’s opponent is a 27-year-old unbeaten but untested Heavyweight Kash Ali (15-0, 7KOs) from Birmingham. I have a feeling this could be the last time we see Price in a boxing ring if he was to lose. Personally, I hope he gets the win and decides to call it a day on a positive note in front of his beloved Liverpudlians, rather than become a stepping stone for our young British prospects.
In the 140lb division EBU European champion Joe Hughes (17-3-1, 7KOs) defends his title against the British champion Robbie Davies Jnr (17-1, 12KOs) in another excellent domestic tear-up. In the same division Commonwealth champion Phillip Bowes (19-3, 3KOs) defends his strap against Tom Farrell (16-1, 5KOs).
Also, on the card is Cruiserweight Craig Glover (9-1, 8KOs), undefeated Jr Welterweight Gerard Carroll (9-0, 0KOs), Bantamweight Paul Butler (27-1, 14KOs), Jr Lightweight Natasha Jonas (6-1, 5KOs) and debutant Thomas Whittaker Hart.
Enjoy the fights ladies and gents & Don’t forget to listen-in to the Talkin’ Boxing with Billy C Show this Sunday, you can also follow me on Twitter@JohnnoSE23