It was billed as a mouth-watering 50/50 match-up and a potential Fight of the Year. On Saturday night the clash between Liam Smith and Liam Williams in Manchester was certainly full of drama.
Williams began well, as a straight left opened up a cut above his opponent’s right eye three rounds in but after a slow start, Smith was moving through the gears late on.
A clash of heads in the ninth round left Williams with a horrible wound on his right eye, but it appeared the cut may have opened up before the incident.
Trainer Gary Lockett decided to pull his charge out of the contest as Williams’ vision was severely affected by the cut, leading to the Welshman’s first loss in 18 bouts.
After the controversial ending, many fans took to social media to express their desire to see a rematch between the Super-Welterweight rivals. “Rematch has to happen,” declared one fan on Twitter, “I think if there isn't one, then it will always be considered unfinished business,” added another.
Smith, who was behind on all three judges' scorecards, also took to Twitter to share his view on the bloody barnstormer. “The cut was open before the head clash, regardless, he chose to stop the fight, we was both cut, simple,” explained the Liverpudlian.
The cut was open before the head clash, regardless, he chose to stop the fight, we was both cut, simple.— Liam Smith (@LiamBeefySmith) April 9, 2017
Williams expressed his disappointment with the ending to the fight, revealing that he “could not see through my right eye” and reiterated his desire to fight ‘Beefy’ again once his injuries have healed.
"I felt I was well ahead on the scorecards before that flying head-butt landed. I proved to so many people what I am capable of and will definitely come back as a better, well rounded fighter!"
After Smith missed the weight at Friday’s weigh-in, the WBO Interim Super-Welterweight Title remains vacant.
Speaking to iFL TV after the fight, promoter Frank Warren revealed his intentions to make a second fight: “We can make the rematch. Both boys want it and I’m sure the fans want it too!”