Liam Smith takes on Sam Eggington on March 30 at the M&S Bank Arena, live on Sky Sports.
Smith, Matchroom Boxing's newest recruit, became Liverpool’s first World Champion in over 20 years when he stopped American John Thompson to claim the WBO Super-Welterweight crown in 2015. ‘Beefy’ returns to his home city since for the first time since then in a cracking fight with sparring partner and stablemate - having switched from Warren to Hearn - Sam Eggington.
The former European welterweight champion knows he is fighting for his career after suffering a shock stoppage defeat to Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo at Arena Birmingham in his last fight. ‘The Savage’ was preparing to face former World ruler Brandon Rios at Wembley Stadium when he was wiped out by the dangerous African, but the Stourbridge man believes a win against Smith would put his name back in the mix for title action at 154lbs.
BBN asked their friends from the world of boxing to give their predictions for 'Beefy' vs 'Savage':
Liam Smith: "I've done a lot - and I mean a lot - of sparring with Sam. You know what you are going to get with him. You aren't sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what he's going to bring. You know exactly what he's bringing. We will meet in the middle. It's what we both do. I do feel, though, I do everything better than him and beyond. I've got to do a proper job on Sam and a proper job is what I truly believe I will do. I am massively confident I will find those gaps. Everything I throw will hit Sam and I just feel I have too good a variety for him to carry on going. On that note, I feel it's a bad part of Sam to take the fight at this moment."
Sam Eggington: "I'm buzzing with this fight, I didn't expect any sort of fight like this, to get someone like Liam Smith, a former World Champion. Like you say, I haven't got no pressure, I'm just going to put the work in, and come up on the blind side and get a win that no-one is going to expect. They've always been good, competitive spars. Probably could have sold tickets for a few of them on their own, so come March 30, it will be a fight not to miss."
Former Southern Area middleweight champion
"I think Liam Smith has far too much ability, ringcraft and experience for Sam Eggington.
I feel Liam will get to him by the 9th."
English light-heavyweight champion
"Even though Liam was world champion I think he’s hugely underrated and would give most fighters in the world trouble with his style.
I think it’s the perfect fight to kick off his start with Matchroom and think he should stop Sam late. I’m a fan of how Sam’s turned his career around from wanting to be a journeyman to achieving what he has and would like him to hear the final bell."
Three-time Southern Area champion
"I like both fighters for different reasons, Sam is hard as nails and has proved that time and time again he also loves to dish it out, Liam is a cute and tidy fighter who boxes behind a tight guard and throws a decent body punch, styles make fights and I’d say the fans are the winners here.
Sam has everything to gain and plenty to prove, he knows a win catapults him on to the world stage in with other huge names off Liam’s record, where Liam has been a world champion and mixed at world level for a number of years now so he will be keen to put him self right back in that mix. I predict fireworks from the off, with Liam targeting the body of the taller man and I see it ending between rounds 5-8 with Liam’s hand raised. Respect to both, who are both nice lads and decent operators."
2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist
"Liam Smith win by KO inside six-rounds."
"I rate Liam Smith very highly and think that he will be that level above Sam Eggington in this fight.
Eggington has done very well in his career, but I do think his skills are limited and that he is an easy target to hit. However, I do believe that we will see a very good version of 'The Savage' turn up to this fight, unlike in his last fight.
Liam has fantastic ringcraft, is a very clever boxer and disciplined, he listens to instruction, and I think all of his skills and experience are more than enough to win against Eggington.
That said, it should be a very competitive and cracking contest!"
Boxing Matchmaker / PR
"I’m sure Eggington will perform much better than his last fight but expect a mid-rounds stoppage win for Liam Smith.
It will be action packed for as long as it lasts, but Smith is just better all round."
"I like Sam but do not like this fight for him, can see him getting stopped on his feet before the halfway mark, unfortunately."
Editor of Big Write Hook
"Liam Smith has proven he is well above domestic level more than once, dispatching Jimmy Kelly with ease and eventually seeing off Liam Williams in their rematch. There is no shame in losing to Canelo or his second career loss to the then unknown quantity, now wild powerhouse, Jaime Munguia.
Sam Eggington, has struggled with similar problems to Smith but has come unstuck against European level fighters rather than World beaters. He is scheduled to have a tune up fight in Birmingham to get him back to winning ways after being KO’d on his feet at the heavy hands of expected walkover job Hassan Mwakinyo.
At 25 years old, Eggington still has a lot of fights left in him, and though the experience of Smith should prevail, this huge jump in class should help Sam on course to domestic dominance and possible titles as he approaches the second half of his career.
Neither fighter has a great KO success, however, I would favour Smith to get one if he rips to the body like he had been doing a few years ago. A renewed fire in his belly could see Smith look to impress his new boss Eddie Hearn and send a message to Kell Brook. If it goes the distance, which I doubt, I would expect a very wide decision victory for the home fighter."
"Good matchup this and brilliant opportunity for Sam Eggington to put himself back into the mix after his recent loss.
Whilst Sam is a fan friendly fighter and always puts it on the line, I believe Smith is a level above and should be able to beat him comprehensively on points, if not a late stoppage. Eggington was always a very big 147 but Smith is much more accustomed to 154 and I believe that will play a part as well."
"Both Smith and Eggington are resilient characters, capable of battling on when the s**t hits the fan: fighting their way through a storm. However, I believe it's only 'Beefy' out of the two, who can navigate through harsh weathers by utilising his boxing abilities.
Sam's a tough lad and if it becomes a scrap, Smith will still more than likely prevail, however not without taking some shrapnel. Whereas, if the Liverpudlian keeps composed, I'm sure he'll outfox Eggington and an easier night's graft should be in store.
Liam Smith points win or later stoppage."
"I think that Liam Smith will win this as he has more experience and is much better technically at this level.
Even though Eggington is improving, I believe Smith will break him down physically and stop him in the later rounds.
A great match up that will be very intriguing while it lasts."
"I’m rather surprised that Sam took a fight against a formidable fighter like Liam, who has both home advantage and momentum on his side, after his defeat against Mwakinyo. I would have thought that a lesser opponent might have been a better move.
However, Sam is a real competitor with tremendous heart and stamina, but I do think that Liam’s technical ability will see him through in a fight that will go the distance.
If ‘The Savage’ shows up this time it will be a great contest though."