Boxing tonight: Liam Smith vs Sam Eggington, Anthony Fowler vs Scott Fitzgerald, David Price vs Kash Ali

A heavyweight shoot-out, a grudge match, the return of a local hero and a fascinating European title clash should all offer something different to keep interest levels high

Martin Hines
Saturday 30 March 2019 13:18 GMT

A slow year for British boxing may finally explode to life tonight in Liverpool with the first fiercely competitive card of the year. 2019 has been tentative domestically so far, with few local shows creating any excitement, but a Saturday night full of drama could be the catalyst for more entertaining clashes to come.

A heavyweight shoot-out, a grudge match, the return of a local hero and a fascinating European title clash should all offer something different to keep interest levels high, with each bout containing fighters all desperate to impress to move to the next level.

The main event tonight has had the least amount of hype, but should still produce an engrossing contest between two inspirational boxers. Liverpool’s own Robbie Davies Jnr won the super lightweight British title in emotional fashion last October with an away win over Glenn Foot, and defends his title for the first time against Joe Hughes.

With the European super lightweight belt of Hughes on the line too, the stakes are high for both boxers, both of whom are confident of their chances. Davies had long been touted as a potential star, but a stoppage defeat to Michal Syrowatka in 2017 threatened to derail his career before it had properly begun. A rejuvenated Davies atoned for that defeat by stopping Syrowatka in their rematch, before his British title triumph over Glenn Foot revitalised his reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting boxers.

Joe Hughes has had a more unconventional route to the top, and the fact he’s fighting at all is hard to believe considering his limited physicality. Hughes has Erb’s palsy, a condition which means one of his arms is three inches shorter than the other. Despite his reputation as a ‘one-armed’ boxer, Hughes is 17-3 as a professional, and holds wins over the likes of Anthony Upton and Andy Keates.

It was Italy where Hughes really shocked the world, when he outpointed home favourite Andrea Scarpa in November to clinch the European title. Tonight, he enters enemy territory again when he faces Davies, but his confidence and poise will surely serve him well amidst the din of a passionate Scouse audience.

Another Liverpudlian hero will return to the city of his birth tonight when former world champion Liam Smith takes on Sam Eggington. Smith, a former WBO super welterweight world champion, lost to Mexican sensation Jaime Munguia last July, and fights for the first time since as he attempts to claw his way back to championship contention.

Sam Eggington is one of Britain’s most entertaining fighters, but not necessarily for the right reasons. At just 25, Eggington has always fought 29 times a professional, and has beaten good fighters in Frankie Gavin, Paul Malinaggi and Glenn Foot. Recently however, Eggington’s form has waned, and he was brutally stopped on his feet last year by an unknown fighter from Tanzania. The defeat was a shock, but not to those watching the fight, with Egginton’s defence completely non-existent throughout both rounds of the contest.

The Birmingham boxer has always been a come-forward fighter, but that has come at the expense of any form of defensive acumen or ring knowledge. It’s not enough to charge forward and swing wildly once you get past journeyman level, and it’s likely he will be stopped again tonight by Smith, whose cagey nature inside the squared circle is accentuated with good body shots and an engine that can last all 12 rounds with ease.

While the two featured bouts are exciting for pure boxing reasons, Anthony Fowler vs Scott Fitzgerald is the fight most fans are looking forward to, and it’s all thanks to Twitter. Both Fowler and Fitzgerald are Commonwealth Games gold medalists, and both are undefeated in their professional career so far.

Fowler has been the golden boy however, with strong backing from Matchroom and an air of detached greatness. The Liverpool fighter has confidence bursting out of every inch of his six-pack, and has been quick to criticise pretty much everybody he chooses. His latest target has been Preston’s Fitzgerald, another decorated amateur but a man whose professional career has been much slower to ignite than his rival tonight.

Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald go head to head
Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald go head to head (Getty)

Both men have been trying to gain the upper hand mentally over the last few months, with barbs and grenades being thrown all across social media. This is a genuine grudge match, there’s no manufactured drama here, it’s verbal warfare that has emerged into a slugfest. If the fight is half as good as the build-up, this could be one of the best dust-ups of the year so far.

Fowler won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games, and he will be cautious not to follow the career path of fellow Olympic medalist David Price, who also fights tonight in front of his home fans. Price was a heavyweight sensation at the beginning of his career who knocked out every man who came before him. A brace of defeats to grizzled American Tony Thompson halted the hype-train, before a series of knock-out defeats ended any hope of world level dreams.

Price has always backed his talent however, and at 35-years-old, seems comfortable to still be fighting on the domestic scene with the hope of yet another big fight in the distance. He fights the undefeated Kash Ali tonight, who talks a good game but hasn’t beaten a fighter of note across his eight year career. Expect Price to finish Ali despite his many vulnerabilities, and then call out someone completely inappropriate in the post fight interview.

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