Liam Smith vs Hassan Mwakinyo – Who wins and why?
‘Beefy’ faces a ‘Tornado’ in his next fight
Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (31-3-1, 18KO) returns home to Liverpool to face Tanzanian terror Hassan Mwakinyo (20-2, 14KO) this Saturday, September 3 at the M&S Bank Arena, live on Sky Sports, promoted by BOXXER.
Smith’s last two victories have been highly impressive – TKO wins against Anthony Fowler followed by Jessie Vargas in America – which followed on from a controversial reverse in Russia, suspiciously outpointed on away turf by home favourite Magomed Kurbanov.
Since his 2018 unanimous decision loss to devastating puncher and defending WBO World super-welterweight champion Jaime Munguia, Smith has reeled off five very fine victories from six bouts, including a fifth-round stoppage of infamously tough Brummie boxer Sam Eggington, who was recently crowned IBO super-welterweight champion.
But his upcoming dangerous opponent, Mwakinyo, has also overcome and KO’d Eggington – three rounds faster in the second stanza.
Liam Smith is ranked IBO #4 and Mwakinyo is #19, so the winner of this fight could potentially be in line for a shot at Eggington’s IBO honours next. However, Smith’s WBC #3, WBA #4 and WBO #2 world rankings will likely see him challenge undisputed champion Jermell Charlo finstead.
But, the Merseysider has a potential banana skin in his path first.
Who is Hassan Mwakinyo?
The ‘Tanzanian Tornado’ is heading to Liverpool with the intent to cause another upset, like he did four years ago in September 2018, when he smashed through ‘Savage’ Sam Eggington in the second-round.
The national champion is world ranked with the WBC at #16 and regarded as the No.1 super-welterweight in his country.
In his last fight, he defeated former unified word champion Julius Indongo in four rounds.
He has experienced a high-level of sparring with the likes of WBA Gold super-welterweight champion Michel Soro; unbeaten prospect Steven Nelson; and former EBU European Union titlist Daniele Scardina.
He has won six titles during his seven-year pro career, but only regional level and he has yet to secure a major honour.
Smith is a former world champion who only has lost to pound-for-pound great Canelo, and formidable puncher Munguai, who is undefeated in 40 fights currently, until the recent debatable decision against Kurbanov made it three reverses altogether.
Currently reigning as the WBO Inter-Continental super-welterweight champion, Smith’s experience and achievements dwarf Hassan’s considerably, despite having the same result against a shared opponent.
34-year-old Smith is experienced, smart, technically brilliant, durable and rugged. His peekaboo tactics and tight guard works well to get up close and inside of opponents where he can unleash his short, sharp hooks and uppercuts to devastating effect.
Mwakinyo, 27, is hard-hitting, but even he won’t be able to move ‘Beefy’ back. Smith can start a little slow as he tries to pin his opponents down, not one for exchanging jabs on the outside, so the Tanzanian’s best chance is to start fast and aggressively. Against Fowler, Smith was all at sea for the first few rounds, which is when he will be most vulnerable, but no one has ever managed to stop Smith early. It took Canelo nine rounds of relentless punching and punishment to be able to halt the Liverpudlian. However, in that bloody battle with Fowler, Smith proved he can still turn the fight in his favour with a single punch.
Mwakinyo was backed up against Eggington, moving away, throwing counters when he could, but was getting caught regularly under the pressure. It was a surprise shot that stunned ‘Savage’ towards the end of the first round that the Midlander just couldn’t recover from. Hassan’s finish wasn’t spectacular though, he was throwing wild, telegraphed right hands that any other fighter, even in a dazed state, would have been able to avoid. Fortunately for Mwakinyo, he was up against a boxer who isn’t known for moving his head!
It gives the African a bit of a chance coming into this fight, but let’s explore just how much of a chance that could be.
Former British, Commonwealth and World champion Smith is the outright favourite to win at 1/20 with Betway, as he rightly should be, while the African visitor is the clear underdog at 7/1, and the odds for a draw are 25/1.
Smith’s superior experience at the very highest level, with losses to only the world’s best – Canelo and Munguia – should see him bully his way towards a mid-rounds stoppage with impressive, calculated pressure.
Despite Hassan’s previous success in an England ring, his fairly decent record of 20-2, and his respectable KO ratio, I can help but think that, on fight night, it’s going to be a mismatch. I hope I’m wrong and that fight fans will be treated to an even, intriguing, back and forth battle, but something tells me Smith is going to be quite a few levels above his 36th opponent to win quite comfortably.
The Dan Azeez vs Shakan Pitters British light-heavyweight championship contest will likely be the best bout of the evening, so that fight alone will provide value for money. But, Smith vs Mwakinyo, I predict will be a one-sided beatdown until the visitor can take no more between rounds five to seven, I estimate.