Tony Bellew has backed Liam Smith to win back his crown as world champion after overcoming Anthony Fowler.
The former world champion was rocked early on as his counterpart started brightly, opening up a cut to the right eye of Smith.
But ‘Beefy’ fought back hard and began to assert his dominance, flooring Fowler with a right in the fifth as he began to see his path to victory.
And the bout was brought to an end in the eighth as Smith once again sent his opponent down, and he’ll now have eyes on another world title shot after losing his WBO title to Magomed Kurbanov earlier this year – and he’s been backed to win it back by Bellew.
Speaking after Smith’s win over Fowler, Bellew told DAZN: “Liam is a brilliant, brilliant fighter. His training team got it perfectly right, they’ve just got the job spot on.
“Liam was in amazing shape, he didn’t panic when he got cut, and that’s something that only comes with experience.
“He was really good, picking his punches right, Fowler was feeling the body shots from round two onwards.
“Ant’s got to progress, I feel for him because I don’t feel that fight was in Anthony Fowler’s best interests. That was a business decision made by his management team and Shane McGuigan. Why would you put that boy at risk?
“Liam Smith isn’t a world champion that’s shown he’s massively on the slide, it’s not like he lost his world title and then got blasted in a round by some unknown.
“Liam Smith lost his world title, he goes in against another fighter in Jaime Munguia and gives an absolutely brilliant display, then he’s gone against Kurbanov in Russia, and we all think he won, so why is Liam being painted as this washed-up world champion who’s past his best?
“He’s far from that, he’s a brilliant fighter who’s still got a lot left to give, and I think he’ll be world champion again.”
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