RIS­ING STAR

Smith ad­vances through the first stage of the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries

Boxing News - - Contents - John Den­nen @Box­ingnewsjd

Cal­lum Smith opens his ac­count in the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries in Liver­pool

THE change was sud­den. Cal­lum

Smith had opened his ac­count against

Erik Skoglund in cool com­mand. At the Echo Arena in his Liver­pool home­town, Smith strode out to take the cen­tre of the ring. The Swede kept mov­ing, can­ter­ing from side to side but re­treat­ing as Smith landed his jab to set up long crosses to the head, jolt­ing blows that kept Skoglund on the back foot. This was the first su­per­mid­dleweight quar­ter-fi­nal of the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries but Smith was nei­ther getting car­ried away with the oc­ca­sion, nor show­ing much rust af­ter nine months out the ring. But Skoglund, a qual­ity, un­beaten fighter who’d de­scended from light-heavy­weight, served a sharp re­minder that Smith was now op­er­at­ing at world class level.

For the first third of the fight the Liver­pudlian had suc­cess­fully de­fused Skoglund’s jab. But in the fifth round Erik’s lead left be­gan to thud through with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­ity. It shot through the gap in Cal­lum’s guard, grind­ing into Smith’s face and al­low­ing Skoglund to can­ter for­ward with ever in­creas­ing gusto. Blood started to cas­cade from Smith’s nose, high­light­ing Erik’s suc­cesses. The Swede con­tin­ued his mo­men­tum in the sixth round, whip­ping hooks into Smith’s guard and main­tain­ing his jab as a con­stant threat. It was not a cri­sis but th­ese were nervy mo­ments for Cal­lum and his team.

Smith com­posed him­self and stead­ied the flow of the fight, dili­gent strikes to the body staunch­ing Skoglund’s en­er­getic ef­forts in the sec­ond half of the con­test. Th­ese rounds were close, com­pet­i­tive and hard but Cal­lum was win­ning them. The break­through came in the 11th. Smith sent his right over the top of Skoglund’s left hand and im­pact wob­bled the Swede. Cal­lum pounced, ham­mer­ing Skoglund with hooks to send him down to the can­vas. A tough man, Erik rose but the Liver­pudlian main­tained the in­ten­sity. Smith shook him up with an­other coun­ter­ing right and fin­ished the ses­sion pound­ing his own chest, sat­is­fied with his work. Con­fi­dent now Cal­lum boxed his way through the last round to make sure of the de­ci­sion. The judges were unan­i­mous, John Keane scored 116-112, Michael Tate 117-110 and Ernesto Sal­divar 117-111,

all for Cal­lum Smith. Ian John Lewis was the ref­eree.

“It was a good fight, he had a good jab and made me think,” Smith said. “Although there were a lot of close rounds I felt I was win­ning them.”

Skoglund re­flected, “He’s a good puncher. He’s hard to catch. He looks a big tar­get but once you get in there you can’t re­ally feel your rhythm.

“Cal­lum is a good fighter, a true cham­pion.”

Smith, who had agreed to fight for the world ti­tle ear­lier this year only to see An­thony Dir­rell back out, was awarded a WBC Di­a­mond belt but his eyes are on fur­ther hon­ours, with the WBA crown and the Muham­mad Ali tro­phy po­ten­tially avail­able later on in this Su­per Se­ries com­pe­ti­tion. Martin Mur­ray, on stand-by in case of an in­jury to ei­ther of the main even­ters, ef­fi­ciently dis­patched Ger­many’s

Ar­man Torosyan. The St. He­lens’ man tracked for­ward grad­u­ally ratch­et­ing up the pres­sure. Torosyan tried to shrug off the hits he ab­sorbed but was soon wilt­ing. Mur­ray shep­herded him into a cor­ner, looked up­stairs be­fore slot­ting a per­fect right hook to the body, drop­ping and stop­ping Torosyan at 2-49 of the fourth round. John Lathan ref­er­eed. Woodville’s Zach Parker took out

Luke Black­ledge with a short, sav­age back hand left hook that dropped the Dar­wen man and left him stunned. Ref­eree Michael Alexan­der waved it off at 2-40 of the first round.

High­light of the un­der­card saw Sun­der­land’s Isaac Macleod over­come Danny Craven in a six-round brawl. Macleod worked at a tremen­dous tempo, con­sis­tently tak­ing the War­ring­ton man back to the ropes as he launched hooks through his de­fence. Craven spun round him to un­leash flur­ries but couldn’t change the mo­men­tum. Macleod won 58-57 for Mr. Latham. Reece Macmil­lan pushed for­ward ag­gres­sively when he took on Adam Lit­tle, wing­ing through wide hooks. But the Kirkham man went to work, chop­ping through up­per­cuts to keep Macmil­lan at bay. Lit­tle forced the More­cambe man to the can­vas in the fourth round. He at­tacked again and a heavy left hook to the body left Macmil­lan on his knees, where Mr. Latham counted him out at 1-29.

Brian Phillips made an ex­plo­sive pro de­but, drop­ping Poland’s Kamil Ja­worek twice in the first round alone. Phillips slugged him down again and as he laid into him to end it in the sec­ond round.

Liver­pool’s Lloyd Campbell jabbed

Michael Vosyka firmly into sub­mis­sion. The Czech car­ried his hands too low and felt the weight of Campbell’s shots, es­pe­cially a right cross to the body. By the sec­ond round Vosyka was stranded on the ropes, en­dur­ing a beat­ing and ref­eree Jamie Kirk­patrick stopped him at 1-51.

Liver­pudlian south­paw Luke Wil­lis be­gan fir­ing in crisp com­bi­na­tions, pop­ping straight shots through against Nicaragua’s Rey­naldo Mora. The bout be­came scrap­pier over the course of the six rounds but Wil­lis still made sure of a 60-54 vic­tory from ref­eree Howard Fos­ter.

Lo­cal man Joe Wood took out Bul­garia’s Ilian

Markov in the third round. It had been sched­uled for four.

Mikael Lawal looks an im­pos­ing cruis­er­weight but had to con­tent him­self carv­ing out a 40-36 points win over Pol­ish south­paw Jakub

Wo­j­cik. John Latham ref­er­eed both. Lo­cal heavy­weight John Gil­lies took a 39-37 points win af­ter four rounds with Hun­gary’s Ferenc Zsalek, over­seen by ref­eree Howard Fos­ter.

Photos: AC­TION IMAGES/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE

TELLING BLOW: Smith looks to catch Skoglund [left] with his right cross

TOUGH BAT­TLE: Skoglund blood­ies Smith’s nose [be­low], un­til the Liver­pudlian ral­lies [be­low right], drops him in the 11th round [above], and pounds his chest, sat­is­fied with his work [right]

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