Popular scouser Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (31-3-1, 18KOs) returns to his home city of Liverpool this Saturday to take on a familiar face in Hassan Mwakinyo (20-2-0, 14KOs) at the M&S Bank Arena, live on Sky Sports.
Smith returns following his tenth-round stoppage over America’s Jessie Vargas in Madison Square Garden, New York in what he hopes to be a brief pitstop against the Tanzanian before stepping in towards big showdowns in 2023. The Liverpudlian penned a multi-fight deal with BOXXER and Sky Sports following the Vargas victory, and was strongly linked with a mega middleweight showdown with Chris Eubank Jr. The latter has since signed for a huge catchweight fight against Conor Benn in October, leaving Smith facing off against a former sparring partner in Mwakinyo to remain active before legacy-defining fights next year.
Mwakinyo meanwhile is certainly no slouch, and despite having two losses on his record the twenty-seven-year-old hasn’t tasted defeat in almost five years. The fourteen knockouts in twenty victories proves the ‘Tornado’ possesses power and enters Saturday off the back of an impressive fourth-round stoppage of Julius Indongo twelve months ago. If in need of further reminders of the dangers posed by Mwakinyo, British fans need look no further than his two-round demolition of Sam Eggington four years ago in Birmingham at a time where the Midlander was eyeing a shot at world honours. With the greatest of respect however, Liam Smith is not Sam Eggington and has consistently operated at the highest level at super-welterweight, only losing to top fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia, while his 2021 defeat to Magomed Kurbanov is widely disputed with many feeling the Liverpudlian deserved the nod that night.
All four Smith brothers have always enjoyed tremendous support in their home city and Saturday night will be no different ahead of a packed card, the chief support of which will feature another scouser in Natasha Jonas (11-2-1, 8KOs) as she attempts to unify the 154-pound division versus Patricia Berghult (15-0-0, 3KOs) of Sweden. Both fighters picked up their respective world titles earlier this year, with Jonas demolishing Chris Namus inside two rounds last February in Manchester to claim the vacant WBO version, while Berghult outpointed Olivia Belkacem over ten rounds to pickup the WBC strap. Immense credit should be afforded to both for going straight back into a huge fight in their first contests since becoming world champions when many fighters have been forgiven for taking a softer touch in their first defence.
British light-heavyweight champion Dan Azeez (16-0-0, 11KOs) looks to defend his Lord Lonsdale strap in what is being dubbed as the fight of the night against Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters (17-1-0, 6KO). Azeez picked up the vacant strap in an impressive victory over Hosea Burton last year which saw the Londoner stop the latter inside seven rounds. Pitters meanwhile looks to become a two-time British champion at 175-pounds following his defeat to Craig Richards in 2020 which saw the Midlander forfeit his Lonsdale belt, but enters the night as the bigger man in terms of height and reach, an advantage he will no doubt look to utilise against the shorter but ruthless Azeez.
Further down the card, Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist and heavyweight prospect Frazer Clarke (2-0-0, 2KOs) returns for his third pro contest as he takes on the undefeated Pencho Tsvetkov (7-0-0, 5KOs) over six rounds. Top super-lightweight prospect Adam Azim (5-0-0, 4KOs) looks to get some professional rounds under his belt following four stoppages in five outings, including back-to-back first-round knockouts in his last two outings, against Argentina’s Michel Cabral (5-4-0, 1KO). Despite having four defeats to his name, the South American is yet to be stopped in his nine-bout professional career so far.
Brazil-born and St. Helen’s based super-middleweight Diego Costa (8-0-0, 5KOs) takes on Musa Moyo (4-0-0) over six, while Liverpool’s Nathan Quarless (10-0-0) fights in front of his home fans in a six-round cruiserweight bout versus Michael Webster (7-0-0, 5KOS). Popular middleweight Paddy Lacey (6-0-0, 1KO) returns for his seventh outing against Seamus Devlin (1-37-1), and lightweight prospect Frankie Stringer (1-0-0) returns for a second pro outing versus Karl Sampson (1-10-0). Edinburgh cruiserweight Scott Forrest (2-0-0, 2KO) also returns against Dmitrij Kalinovskij (13-69-4, 5KOs), while Clark Smith makes his debut at super-welterweight versus Peter Aleksandrov (4-20-0, 2 KOs) across four rounds.