Matchroom: Liam Smith vs Anthony Fowler Predictions
Oh Eddie, you little saucepot. While the eyes of the world centre on the Heavyweight trilogy showdown between Fury and Wilder, the norti Essex boi has put together a real knee slapper of a card. Hosting a wealth of Super-Welterweight talent across GB, all six men have a realistic chance of winning their domestic clashes on Saturday – as well the prospect of carrying on towards international glory.
Quick comedic note. Shannon Courtenay missed weight and has been stripped of her WBA world title. Blaming her menstrual cycle for the last-minute weight change, an admittedly fair excuse, it is still yet another mark against the already troubled name and brand.
Failed to catch the action from the last boxing event? No worries. Peep our preview of Matchroom: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk. Prefer a review of the event to jog the memory, read MAFB: Joshua vs Usyk Review?
Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in Boxing Predictions Results: August 2021.
Smith vs Fowler: Main Event
Liam Smith (29-3-1, 16KO) vs Anthony Fowler (15-1, 12KO)
Super Welterweight (154)
I’m not quite sure whether it was the Canelo fight or the Liam Williams double victory (dubious as though the first may have been), but my respect for Liam Smith is immense. Overlooked for the entirety of his career, Beefy has never shied away from a top opponent. The greatest attribute that Smith possesses is his consistency. There isn’t anything fancy to Smith’s approach, he is a thoroughly solid boxer with a strong guard and a penchant for targetting the body.
Regardless of whether Liam was robbed in Russia against Magomed Kurbanov, the Liverpudlian is thirty-three years old and looking a touch off the pace. By no means has Liam exhibited a steep decline, but Liam’s tendency to fight deep into contests and out-grit opponents is starting to show its natural wear and tear. Is the decline in speed devastating against a fresher, volume fighter who thrives at mid-range? Liam will surely plough forward from the get-go, but can he still dig deep enough to punish Fowler down the stretch?
Fowler is at risk of becoming the ‘what if’ or ‘nearly’ man. Beaten in the opening round of the 2016 Olympics. Dismantled by Scott Fitzgerald, despite opportune timing of the match which attempted to feature an unfit, unfocused Fitzgerald. Even last time out against a career Welterweight, Fowler struggled to impose his physicality on an aggressive but far smaller opponent.
There is a lot to like about Anthony Fowler’s boxing. Greater use of the jab as the foundation for combinations punches in bunches in the pocket and a solid gas tank. Unfortunately, even with the greater use of the jab, Fowler lacks the mental to maintain distance. A fighter shouldn’t be able to land three clean jabs, as he did against Mueller, before planting his feet and eating a telegraphed overhand. If Fowler fails to use his jab alongside evasive footwork, his body will be wide open for Smith to tear up.
Predicted Result: Smith Decision
A terrific domestic match-up. Liam Smith’s wealth of experience cannot be overlooked. Duelling with Canelo for nine rounds, as well as going to decisions with Jaime Munguia, Liam Williams and Magomed Kurbanov all highlight Smith’s consistency. When viewing Fowler’s inability to deal with Rico Mueller’s forward pressure during the first half of their fight, it indicates that a natural Super Welterweight in Smith will be able to walk down Fowler.
Fowler may have been out-classed by Scott Fitzgerald, but the Scouser’s style is difficult to rule out in this match-up. Greater use of the jab may not see Fowler dictate distance, but it is still a scoring shot that racks up his already sweltering volume. Both men have relatively deep gas tanks, yet Fowler’s unloads explosive bursts while Smith is happy to pick his shots from behind his high guard. I’m expecting a razor-thin decision which could go either way. Typically, I’d go for Fowler as Eddie would prefer the prospect to win for future paydays, but my heart says Liam Smith’s a step too far for Fowler.
Smith vs Fowler: Co-Main Event
Ted Cheeseman (17-2-1, 10KO) vs Troy Williamson (16-0-1, 12KO)
Super Welterweight (154)
British Super Welterweight Title
Remember when Cheeseman was hyped as the next British world champion back in 2018? While the ferocious volume, forward momentum and granite chin remain – Cheeseman’s lack of attention to striking defence and incapability to cut off the ring has seen him peppered by Scott Fitzgerald, Kieron Conway and Sergio Garcia. Cheeseman found himself lucky to have his hand raised in an ugly, yet thoroughly entertaining war with Sam Eggington. If Cheeseman wasn’t considered the home fighter, it would be no surprise if Big Cheddar was riding an 0-3-1, or even an 0-4 streak into the Metcalf fight.
The Metcalf fight didn’t reveal a new Cheeseman style, but much needed slight improvements. Still, Teddy likes to rest his head against an opponent’s and wait to land his short combinations. While waiting against Metcalf, however, Cheeseman kept his head constantly moving and was able to slip occasional shots. Against a combination fighter in Metcalf, it denied the Northern Irishman the natural fluidity to his boxing and frustrated him deep into the fight. Still, Cheeseman took a ridiculous amount of damage (once again), and it is ludicrous to believe that Stilton can take that sort of punishment for 5-10 more fights.
A widely decorated amateur, Troy Williamson, makes another career leap in class as he faces Cheeseman. The former two-time ABA finalist (once losing to Anthony Fowler) is coming off a devastating sixth-round stoppage win over the undefeated Kieran Smith. Williamson fought a silly fight against a tricky, taller opponent and was caught regularly with his hands down at striking range. Still, Williamson’s heavy hands and accurate straight right continued to find their mark.
Too many times I have expected heavy-handed opponents to finally crack Cheeseman’s chin. It is almost always best advised not to expect to sleep Cheeseman with a single, significant shot – his durability and recovery are freakish. Favouring Williamson, however, is his ability to turn up the volume when he nears a finish. Unfortunately, William’s freakish firepower comes at the cost of shipping punishment himself. On the inside, Williamson drops his hands after the first couple of sequences and is wide open to Cheeseman’s best work. Unless Williamson finds newfound composure to stay on the outside, he will be walking into Cheeseman’s ideal fight.
Predicted Result: Cheeseman TKO Round 10
The Metcalf fight didn’t reveal a new Cheeseman style, but much needed slight improvements. Rather than switching off in the pocket, idly waiting to burst into a combination, Cheeseman kept his head constantly moving. By slipping the occasional initial shot from Metcalf, it denied the Northern Irishman the natural fluidity of his combination work. Williamson can easily be dragged into a war on the inside, Cheeseman’s ideal fight. With a deeper gas tank, stronger chin and physicality, Cheeseman can bully Williamson by the later rounds in a similar manner as Dario Socci.
That isn’t to say that Williamson finds himself in a hopeless situation. Far from it. The widely decorated amateur possesses the heaviest hands that Cheeseman may have faced. Kieron Smith and Dario Socci had Williamson in trouble before he used his power as the great equaliser. Of note is William’s nuclear straight right that rarely misses the mark. Whether Williamson is mentally capable of keeping a distance fight is another question. Going with the proven cheddar cheese to create another war on the inside which he has proven to succeed in.
Smith vs Fowler: Rest of the Card
Kieron Conway (16-2-1, 3KO) vs James Metcalf (21-1, 13KO)
Super Welterweight (154)
I have a ridiculous amount of love for Kieron Conway. A crisp, technical out-boxer – Conway proved his skillset against top amateur Souleymane Cissokho. Entering as the underdog, Conway made his size known and matched Cissokho’s pace well during the early rounds. Eventually, Conway was out-classed by the educated footwork and lightning hand speed of the Frenchman – but it remains an impressive showing away from home. Outside of the elite at Super Welterweight, Conway can rack up rounds behind his straight shots. Positioning continues to plague Conway’s career, and he cannot afford to take free shots against a powerful threat such as James Metcalf. If Conway too easily surrenders the fight on the inside, his body will be ripped apart.
While Metcalf may have been stopped by Cheeseman, it was his first real fight back in the ring after a two-year layoff. I imagine Eddie would want the winner of the match-up to go on to challenge for the British title (presumably against Cheeseman again). Metcalf is a slippery customer that desperately needs to set his timing early to ensure his solid jab starts firing. A clean affair on the outside isn’t advisable against the giant Kieron Conway. Instead, Metcalf needs to bank on his durability to grind down the distance and keep the fight tight on the inside. Conway doesn’t know how to use his size well in the pocket, while Metcalf can utilise his power to great effect.
Predicted Result: Conway Decision
Expecting another close decision it could well prove a card filled with controversial scoring. While Metcalf may have been stopped by Cheeseman, it was his first real fight back in the ring after a two-year layoff. Metcalf is a slippery customer that desperately needs to set his timing early to ensure his solid jab starts firing. Conway doesn’t know how to use his size well on the inside, while Metcalf can take advantage of it with powerful shots tearing up the body. The trouble is that outside of the top Super Welterweights, Conway can rack up rounds behind his straight shots. Positionally, Conway walks himself into nightmare-ish fights, but his crisp technical boxing on the outside is far superior to his domestic rivals if allowed to dictate the range of the fight.
Shannon Courtenay (7-1, 3KO) vs Jamie Mitchell (6-0-2, 4KO)
Women’s Bantamweight (118)
WBA World Female Bantamweight Title
I’m not going to labour the point about Courtenay’s weight cut debacle, but it is another slight against her name that has seen increasing pressure over the past few months. Eddie seems determined to keep Courtenay as part of the Matchroom package, likely due to the barren nature of the Bantamweight division and the ease to secure Courtenay another world title. Courtenay’s ceiling was exposed by Rachel Ball, but it was further emphasised by Ebanie Bridges. The Aussie is a disgustingly limited fighter, limited to head-strong bull-rushes and clubbing hooks. Courtenay was the cleaner fighter, throwing regular check hooks, but in equal measure, Courtenay attempted to trade power shots up close. There is a lot of learning left for Courtenay, but at the forefront should be a class in distance management 101.
Despite a similar number of professional fights as Courtenay, Mitchell remains an unknown entity. Without a victory over an opponent with a winning record, Mitchell has spent half of her career beating overmatched opponents in Mexico. Last time out against Noemi Bosques, Mitchell looked a far cry from world championship quality (not that quality counts for much at Women’s Bantamweight). Aside from a sporadic jab, all of Mitchell’s work in the pocket are flappy arm punches. The low lead hand isn’t designed for fighters with such static head movement, and Mitchell’s chin will be primed for Courtenay’s sharp lead hooks.
Predicted Result: Courtenay Decision
Going off of Mitchell’s limited tape, Courtenay should breeze this fight if she is truly world level. Aside from a sporadic jab, all of Mitchell’s work in the pocket are flappy arm punches. The low lead hand isn’t designed for fighters with such static head movement, and Mitchell’s chin will be primed for Courtenay’s sharp lead hooks. Ebanie Bridges was a joke of an opponent for a world title, Courtenay has to expose Mitchell if she wants to save a modicum of face after losing the belt on the scales.
Luke Willis (10-0, 1Ko) vs Rylan Charlton (6-1-1, 3KO)
Luke Willis may hold an undefeated record, but the Liverpudlian hasn’t fought a credible opponent since Des Newton back in 2018. With only one fight featuring in a three-year lay-off, a comfortable warm-up victory against Ricardo Fernandez in Spain, Willis’ ring rust could prove fatal against a powerful, aggressive Charlton. Willis likes to set the pace early, flying out of the blocks and peppering opponents with three-shot combinations out of his Southpaw stance. Willis won’t be facing Fonz Alexander (6-89) or Reynaldo Mora (7-24) this time around, however, and will meet an immovable object in Charlton. It took Florian Marku several rounds to earn Charlton’s respect, without any notable firepower himself, Willis will have to box competently off his back-foot for a career first.
Moving down to Lightweight, Charlton should prove a freakishly powerful threat at 135lbs. Fighting well above his natural weight against both Joe laws and Florian Marku, Charlton gave great accounts of himself despite the stoppage loss to Marku. Keeping himself low as he ploughs forward, Charlton is a difficult target to tag until he has an opponent pressed to the ropes. Willis doesn’t possess the back crisp back-foot jab or lateral movement of Marku, and Charlton should have no issue bullying the smaller man. Expecting a Charlton body shot to crumple Willis as he desperately throws volumes to buy breathing room – much like Charlton’s finish over Joe Laws.
Predicted Result: Charlton TKO Round 4
Luke Willis may hold an undefeated record, but the Liverpudlian hasn’t fought a credible opponent since Des Newton back in 2018. It took Florian Marku several rounds to earn Charlton’s respect, without any notable firepower himself, Willis will have to box competently off his back-foot for a career first. Worse yet for Willis, Charlton at 135lbs will be a freakishly powerful threat at his more natural weight. Expecting a Charlton body shot to crumple Willis as he desperately throws volumes to buy breathing room – much like Charlton’s finish over Joe Laws.
Solomon Dacres (2-0, 1KO) vs Kamil Sokolowski (10-22-2, 4KO)
Wow, a huge step-up in quality for Dacres. This may appear to be joking, considering Sokolowski’s less than glittering record on paper, but Kamil is one of the toughest journeymen across boxing. Having turned professional following Frazer Clarke getting the Olympic nod, Dacres has sparkled so far. A physical specimen, Dacres’ low lead hand opens up unorthodox angles for his jab but leaves himself exposed considering his plodding backward movement. Alvaro Terrero was able to open Dacres’ defence with a simple jab. Tangling his feet and attempting to parry the jab with both hands, Terrero was able to fire short bursts of hooks to the body. Thankfully for Dacres, his surprising accuracy on the outside caught the Spaniard clean too often too early.
Don’t ever count out the granite chinned Pole. Sokolowski is perhaps the unluckiest boxer in Britain. The Heavyweight journeyman has proven himself to be a prospect spoiler – securing dominant victories over the likes of Alex Dickinson, Nick Webb, Naylor Ball, and Sean Turner. Perhaps with less corrupt officiating and scorers, Sokolowski could find himself with the scalps of David Adeleye, Lucas Browne and David Price. Sokolowski will find himself walking into Dacres’ power shots, but the Pole’s durability is somewhat legendary. Kamil has a real chance of exposing Dacres’ woeful defensive system which sees him attempt to slip, roll, parry and block punches simultaneously. This has the hallmarks of a banger with a potential side of scorecard robbery.
Predicted Result: Dacres Decision
This has the hallmarks of a banger with a potential side of scorecard robbery. Having turned professional following Frazer Clarke getting the Olympic nod, Dacres has sparkled so far. A physical specimen, Dacres’ low lead hand opens up unorthodox angles for his jab but leaves himself exposed considering his plodding backward movement. Alvaro Terrero was able to open Dacres’ defence with a simple jab. Thankfully for Dacres, his surprising accuracy on the outside caught the Spaniard clean too often too early.
Sokolowski will not fold as easily as Terrero. The granite chinned Pole is a notorious prospect spoiler, securing dominant victories over the likes of Alex Dickinson, Nick Webb, Naylor Ball, and Sean Turner. Sokolowski will find himself walking into Dacres’ power shots, but the Pole’s durability is somewhat legendary. Despite the wide odds, there is a very real chance of Kamil exposing Dacres’ woeful defensive system which sees the ex-rugby player attempt to slip, roll, parry and block punches simultaneously.
Blane Hyland (4-1) vs Santiago San Esebio (3-1-2, 2KO)
Super Flyweight (115)
Blane Hyland finds himself featured on the card by virtue of his native Liverpudlian blood. Coming from a boxing family (grandfather and father both winning the ABAs), Hyland endured a decently lengthy amateur career before turning professional. The one hiccup against Mohamed Salah Abdelghany came largely because of Abdelghany’s ability to drag the cleaner, technical boxer into a scrappy clinching affair. Hyland’s snappy left hand from the Southpaw stance seems far lengthier than his reach belies, but his overreliance on the powerful single-shot saw him out-volumed by Abdelghany.
Santiago San Eusebio
Ancient Frenchman, Santiago San Eusebio, is now embarking on the third period of his professional career. 2012-2013 saw Eusebio collect a 2-0-1 record over domestic rivals, 2017 a 1-1 record, and his most recent stint in 2021 found Eusebio drawing to a French prospect. I’ve struggled to find footage for Eusebio, but it’s almost always safest to the hometown prospect in these types of match-ups.
Predicted Result: Hyland Decision
Hyland’s snappy left hand from the Southpaw stance seems far lengthier than his reach belies, but his overreliance on the powerful single-shot saw him out-volumed by Abdelghany. Ancient Frenchman, Santiago San Eusebio, can spoil fights but at thirty-six years old in a stop-start career – Hyland has to be favoured as the hometown prospect.
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