Liam Smith vs. Anthony Fowler
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England 9/10/21
Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler both made their intentions perfectly clear as they went head to head at their final press conference.
A huge Liverpool derby takes place as former world champion Smith (29-3-1, 16 KOs) faces Fowler (15-1, 12 KOs) at the M&S Bank Arena on Saturday, live on DAZN.
Elsewhere on the card, Troy Williamson (16-0-1, 12 KOs) challenges Ted Cheeseman (17-2-1, 10 KOs) for the British super-welterweight title, Kieron Conway (16-2-1, 3 KOs) clashes with JJ Metcalf (21-1, 13 KOs), and Blane Hyland (4-1) returns.
The final press conference took place on Thursday, and all of the fighters had plenty to say ahead of fight night this weekend.
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“This is a great place, a great city, but especially when you’ve got a great fight. I think everybody here knows their boxing; everybody here knows we’ve got an unbelievable main event, but everyone knows we’ve got an incredible card from top to bottom. This Saturday, live and exclusive on DAZN around the world.
“The main event headlined by Liam Smith vs. Anthony Fowler, it’s a breath-taking matchup but what an undercard we have as well. So many great fighters and fights, talk about 50/50’s from the opening bell of the show on Saturday. We could have sold this arena out two or three times, there’s something very special about a sold-out arena in Liverpool and we cannot wait.”
“I feel good, the way the fighter should feel in fight week. We’re here, if I’m not ready now I’ll never be, so I’m just looking forward to Saturday and being back. I had a long time out, 17 months, I got the cobwebs off in Russia and you’ll see a better Liam Smith.
“He [Anthony] talks about desire and that, you’re obsessed with it and the stuff he posts out. Desire, I’ve lived in a house with three brothers where boxing’s been our life, we’ve got to have desire to do stuff we’ve done, it’s not like I’ve won British Titles and that. We’ve all got desire, we can all push to that, we’ll see Saturday.
“I still think it’s a step too far for him, you can twelve rounds in the gym with as many sparring partners as you want but it’s different under the lights with ten-ounce gloves on and when you’ve got adrenaline inside of you. Shane can help as much as he wants but when the bell goes it’s only me and Anthony in there.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, you [Eddie] made this, Anthony didn’t call you for me you did.
“You put a fight to me, and I’ll take it, I’ll think right okay what’s the pro and cons to it I’ll take it. I said to my manager let me know if the Fowler fight is the route we’re going, because if that’s the route we’re going then so be it. Obviously in hindsight I wasn’t really looking at Anthony as an opponent, he should be fighting for the British Title which I had a long time. He’s humped past that, he’s in a fight now and we’re three days away – we’ll see.
“Of course, I do, I’ve got things in my own career and my own pride I want to keep. I’ve never lost to a domestic fighter, and I fully intend of keeping that on Saturday night. As a family we’ve never lost a scouse derby and I fully intend of keeping that. My own aspirations for challenging for a World Title again, if I lose to Anthony Fowler I’ve got no chance of doing that so I’ve got a lot at stake for myself and that’s why I’ve knuckled down that way I have.”
Joe McNally, trainer of Liam Smith:
“Thanks to everybody for coming, we really appreciate it. Liam is one of a kind in my opinion, I think this is a jump too far for Anthony Fowler. You’ve got Kieran Conway, JJ Metcalf, Troy Williamson, Sergio Garcia, European Champion. It’s the equivalent of being at the chippy getting your chips and Anthony’s jumped the queue – get to the back. He really should have earned his way, waited in the queue to get a shot at this man and it’ll tell on Saturday night.
“We’re under no illusion that Anthony Fowler is a quality fighter, good amateur background that I believe was a little bit too long. A lot of wear and tear in that game which is telling in the pro ranks. Shane’s done a good job in finely adjusting to use his reach and height which is working with the type of fighters he’s been fighting. Liam has left no stone unturned, and it will tell Saturday night, definitely.
“Liam is a professional, he’s not one minute late and you don’t ask him to do anything twice, it gets done, it’s actually holding Liam Smith back in the gym which is the hard part. Let’s not beat around the bush, if Magomed Kurbanov hadn’t shit his kegs to come here and fight Liam, Fowler wouldn’t be fighting – it should’ve been Kurbanov. You [Eddie] called this fight, you and Shane, Anthony didn’t want it and Liam called your bluff. Now it’s happened hasn’t it, otherwise it wasn’t happening.
“Liam will win in style, whether it’s a KO or a punch victory. Liam has left no stone unturned, and he will win, I truly believe it’s not what Fowler does, it’s what Liam Smith turns up. It’s as simple as that.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity, I’m here because I want to be here and win, I want to fight. We don’t call bluffs; we take fights that we believe we can win. I’ve had the best camp of my life, I’m at the best possible version of myself, I’ve had a full camp with no injuries at all, I’m at my physical peak. I’m coming off four straight knockout wins, I’ve been very active, so let’s have it.
“He’s been to the top, he’s been World Champion, I haven’t. I’ve had that mad desire since I was 11, it’s all I’ve ever wanted my whole life. I’ve given my whole life to boxing, it’s all paid off luckily enough, but it means nothing without the win, I’m not here to make up the numbers.
“I’m fully prepared for it, I’ve been visualising it every day, day in, day out, for weeks and weeks. I couldn’t be in a better place, mentally, my weight, my strength, my sparring, I’ve had some tough, tough sparring. I did twelve rounds, and I was fresh as a daisy, I’m in unreal shape because I haven’t been getting tired, just training, and thinking about this fight – I haven’t stopped. I’m just in a great place.
“We’ve both got two arms, two legs, it’s as simple as that – we’re both men. I’ve been active over the last two years, Liam’s had one fight in two years, that bound to play a part. Being inactive and I feel the time is right for me, I feel like this is my time.”
Shane McGuigan, trainer of Anthony Fowler:
“We’ve just been going on as normal, obviously Anthony likes to promote himself and I think he understands he doesn’t have to go out there and shout about this fight, it sold out quickly and the hype is there. He’s knuckled down and stuck to his training, we’rel quietly confident about this fight.
“It’s not like there’s no pressure on Anthony, there’s heaps of pressure on him, we believe that this isn’t the ceiling for Anthony Fowler, but we want to win a World Title. We’ve taken this in our stride, but I believe he’s ready for it, he’s 30 years of age, had the experience in the amateurs, he hasn’t had the acid tests but I’m very confident and believe there’s only one winner on Saturday night.
“Look at Liam Smith, he shells up well and has got a very good defence, he doesn’t rush into his attacks, he’s intelligent behind his pressure. He’s a very good, intelligent pressure fighter. We’ve had unbelievable sparring for this camp and that’s why I believe Anthony has raised the bar and I’m excited for Saturday night. It’s the biggest test for his career by a mile but I believe it’s one he’s going to overcome.
“Anthony’s not one to be in boring fights but neither is Liam Smith. We’ve got a game plan, I know, and Anthony knows what he’s got to do, we’ve drilled it in the gym day in, day out. I just don’t believe Liam is going to be able to bring something new to the table. We know what he does but I believe Anthony is going to win regardless.
“We’re going to get the win; I believe both the stoppage and points win are possible.”
“It’s going to be a tough fight; she’s coming here with the fire exactly like I did when I won the World Championship, so understand – I’ve already been there. I am World Champion and there’s nothing that she can bring on Saturday night that’s going to take that belt away from me. I’ve worked my arse off to get here and I’m not going nowhere.
“I don’t think she [Jamie] has ever gone ten rounds before, I have, I’ve got that experience in the bag. I can stand and go toe-to-toe, or I can box, I can bring both styles. Whatever she comes with I will adapt, I think I’ll drag her into deep waters where she’s never been before and she’s in for a rude awakening.
“I’m so excited to actually be here in Liverpool, everyone’s welcomed me beautifully, I actually had an option to either fight on the Joshua card or here and I wanted to fight in Liverpool. I’m buzzing to put on a good show for everyone here and make sure I come home Saturday with that belt.”
“It’s an awesome opportunity, I’m so happy to be here and put on my performance for you guys and let everyone see my talents and skills.
“I haven’t had it easy in life, I came up in foster care systems, so this is a great opportunity for me because it mimics my past and having it hard – I’m used to hard times. I’m going to make it really easy for myself on Saturday night.”
“Obviously Troy Williamson is unbeaten, he doesn’t want to lose his unbeaten record he’s going to try his hardest not to do that. I just believe that the experience I’ve picked up, the way I’ve been matured, the way I’ve been becoming an all-round fight, I believe I’m a level above. I’ll have to prove that and put in a good performance on Saturday night.
“I’m a veteran on the twelve rounds now, even in the gym in the last few weeks doing the twelve rounds in sparring it’s different to when I’ve done them before. The engine is there now, I know how to train and push myself hard. I’ve done it a lot, for Troy it’s his first time and he’s going to have to have that gut check.
“He keeps saying about his power but no disrespect to Troy, he hasn’t been hit yet, I have. That’s the difference, he’s got to worry about what power I hit him with not what power he can hit me with. Everyone can see I’ve got a great chin but how good is his chin.”
“I think that Ted and I are the two best Super-Welterweights in the division and we’re going to put it all on the line on Saturday night.
“I know how tough and fit I am, obviously I haven’t had the opportunity to show I can do twelve rounds because I’ve never needed to. I’m an explosive puncher and I get rid of people; I know deep down that I can do the distance. I’m very fit and very tough, it’s going to be a great fight.
“No doubt at all, the hard work has been done. I’ve done the rounds in the gym and it’ll show on Saturday night.”
“This is a must win fight for me, but the experience out in Texas in and out of the ring was invaluable for me. I think I learnt a lot; I’ve been working on a hell of a lot of stuff in training, things are coming off nicely, I’m in the best shape and form I’ve ever been in. I don’t see a home advantage for James because I think I’m going to come here and make this look easy.
“I need to make a statement, if the opportunity comes to get him out of there, I’m going for it. I believe that I can take it as well, I don’t see this fight going 10 rounds, the form that I’m in, I think I’m a different level now. My last performance should kick me up the arse, I’ve got things in gear now, I’m ready to show everyone what I’m about.”
“I’m definitely ready to go. You know you’re saying you didn’t know if I was going to turn up, if I agree to something I’m going to do it, I’m going to be there on the night and I’m going to win as well.
“I haven’t in a big city in front of a big crowd like this in a while, I’m really looking forward to that. I just can’t wait now.”
“He [Kamil] said it himself, he’ll fight anybody. He’s a tough guy but I’ve got the same mindset. No disrespect to journeymen but I’ll fight anybody. I put the hard work in the gym to show the level I can get to.
“I don’t want to have fights that don’t mean anything, I want to gain something from the fight. Kamil has tested good prospects before, and he’s pushed them to the limits – it’s something I need if I want to become World Champion. I need tough tests that are going to prepare me to go onto better things. I’m looking for better fights and going on to even better things hopefully.”
“This is my first fight with Matchroom, my record might not look so good but I’m a very good boxer. I’ve come here and I’m looking forward to Saturday, I will check the ability of the young prospect Solomon Dacres. I can fight with anyone, I don’t mind, just let me know and I’ll fight.”
“I’m looking forward to Saturday and putting on a masterclass in front of my own city. I’m looking forward to sitting back after and watching the rest of the bill, it’s a great card.
“He [Rylan] does what he says on the tin, he comes forward and he swings bombs. I’m not saying he’s the worst boxer in the world but all he’s got on me in power. I think he’s underestimating my power and he’ll find out on Saturday. I do carry power, he’s saying he’s going to come to my city and knock me out, he’ll find out on Saturday what I’m about.
“8-ounce gloves on I can hit. On Saturday you’ll see.”
“I’ve always been a 135-pound fighter, we just had the opportunities at Welterweight and it was great because I got my name out there. Now it’s time to show everyone what I can really do and show how effective my power is at Lightweight.
“Everyone’s got their styles, you’ve back foot fighters which he is, you’ve got come forward fighters, and it’s whoever is going toe execute their game plan better on the night.”
“Big thank you to you Eddie, Matchroom and DAZN in giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills on the biggest platform. I’m just looking forward to putting a show on for the crowd, it’s been a long time coming to box on a big stage in front of my friends and family – my city. I’m just looking forward to it now.
“I’ve been training alongside Fowler for years with Team GB and Beefy has always wished me well over the years if I’ve ever needed any advice. I wish them both a very good fight and may the best man win.
“I’ll be bringing World Titles back to the city of Liverpool, I’ve always managed to perform well on the amateur stage, and I’ve always been at a high level. For me, this next year or two I’m looking to be as busy as possible, box as many stars and gain as much experience as possible – we’ll go from there.”
“I’m looking forward to getting out there on Saturday, really excited, if the ring was set up outside, I’d be waiting for Saturday night. I want to thank Matchroom for getting me on this bill and I’m looking forward to putting on a show in front of my own crowd.”
“I was out for a long time, around two years because of the pandemic, obviously with my day job that took precedent. I’m just excited to get my career off again and trying to keep as active as possible.
“I haven’t come from the conventional route, but I’ve had a crash course in boxing now, I’m learning from the best in Joe, sparring Natasha (Jonas), Anthony (Crolla) has taken me under his wing, he’s a World Champion and knows what he’s doing. I can’t wait to show everyone what I’m about and what I’ve been doing.”
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