Stephen “Swifty” Smith forged his final path to possible world title glory in front of his home fans at Liverpool’s Olympia by stopping Italy’s usually durable Devis Boschiero in six rather one sided rounds last night.
Smith, 30, commanded proceedings from the outset, landing a series of thumping body shots throughout the contest; targeting the often exposed ribcage of Boschiero, a mistake which led to the latter’s ultimate undoing.
Boschiero was initially dropped in the second round from a crisp right hook, rising only to fall again from a myriad of shots from Smith but gamely surviving the round.
The literal breathtaking finale surfaced in the sixth. Boschiero, who until this point had never succumbed to an opponent early, crumbled to the floor from a perfectly placed left hook.
The Referee waved off the action having seen an identical instance seconds previously, with Boschiero, his left eye grossly closed, rising courageously from the same shot.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Smith underlined his elation. “I knew the body shots would play a part and we were adamant they would hurt him.”
Smith is now first in line for a shot at the IBF Super-Featherweight crown held by undefeated Puerto Rican Jose Pedraza.
In other action, fellow Liverpudlian Sean “Masher” Dodd scored a shock unanimous decision victory against the experienced and heavily favoured Gary Buckland over twelve hard fought rounds in a British Lightweight title eliminator.
Buckland seemingly looked to walk Dodd down to impose his strategy, attempting to rough his opponent up on the inside.
Dodd disobeyed the script with an eager energy befitting of the magnitude of his given opportunity.
The Birkenhead man landed his own heavy artillery to divert Buckland’s pressure throughout the ten rounder, winning a narrow 97-95 decision victory to set up a British title date with champion Scott Cardle in the near future.
Sedgefield’s 2008 Olympian Bradley Saunders also shocked in equal measure to Dodd when taking on Frenchman Renald Garrido in a scheduled eight round affair.
Saunders looked uncomfortable from the off, allowing Garrido to press him and failing to utilise his undoubtedly superior boxing skills to gain an advantage.
Following Garrido scoring a knockdown in the sixth, Saunders spitefully responded with an intentional headbutt, leading referee Steve Grey to disqualify him, therefore neutralising Saunders 12-0 undefeated record.
Zelfa Barrett successfully negotiated his first appearance in front of the Sky sports cameras with a commanding re-match victory over Nuneaton’s “Mr Reliable” Kristian Laight over four rounds.
The relaxed Barrett slid through the proverbial gears with ease, producing some eye catching work to head and body and quickening the pace as the rounds wore on.
Barrett was unlucky not to stop Laight and the ever increasing tempo of the “Brown Flash” suggested that this may have been achieved over a greater distance.
The final offering from the Sky cameras came from Manchester’s Hosea Burton, who added another win to his sporting CV with a six round shutout of Derby’s Elvis Dube.
Burton displayed a good jab en route to victory as well as dropping Dube in the final stanza.
Burton will be keen to push forward from his latest success, following a series of career setbacks.
He will take on Southampton’s Tony Hill on 21st November in what should provide a sterner test than that presented by Hosea’s recent adversaries.