Undefeated WBA Super-Middleweight world champion Callum Smith scored s hard-fought twelve round unanimous decision over mandatory challenger John Ryder on Saturday night at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. Despite being at a height disadvantage, the 5’9 Ryder brought the fight to the 6’3 Smith from the outset. Smith appeared to have trouble getting into a rhythm early due to the challenger’s bobbing and weaving. In short, this was a story of two different fights. When the combat was confined to the center of the ring the advantage generally went to the champion Smith, but when Ryder was able to execute his offense in spurts and force the fight on the inside where Smith was being pushed back, it was his advantage. Several of the rounds in this fight were close due largely to the ebb and flow seeming to turn frequently between the two fighters where who got the nod came down to specific moments in a round. Both fighters suffered cuts as a result of clashing heads throughout the fight, but this would prove to be s non-factor in the bout.
As the fight progressed, Ryder’s aggression and effective work to the champion’s body began to frustrate Smith. While Smith was the more effective fighter when he was able to keep the fight in the center of the ring and was most effective with his right hand throughout, it became a question as is often the case in close fights of what a judge prefers in their own criteria of scoring based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense that would ultimately determine who would win this fight. At the end of the twelve round world championship bout, Callum Smith had done enough in the three official judges eyes to earn the unanimous decision victory. Official scores were 116-112 (On two scorecards), and 117-111 all in favor of Callum Smith. Callum Smith advances to 27-0, with 19 Knockouts. John Ryder falls to 28-5, with 16 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
In a Lightweight bout former European Jr. Lightweight champion and former world title challenger James Tennyson scored an eleventh round stoppage over Craig Evens. James Tennyson advances to 26-3, with 23 Knockouts. Craig Evens falls to 20-3-2, with 3 Knockouts.
A Jr. Welterweight bout billed as an elimination bout for a shot at the World Boxing Council (WBC) world championship between contenders Tom Farrell and Sean Dodd ended in a four round technical decision after four rounds due to an accidental clash of heads that caused a deep gash over the right eye of Farrell. The fight saw several exchanges between the two fighters, who each had periods of effectiveness, but at the time of the stoppage, it was Dodd who appeared to be getting the better of the action. At the time of the stoppage, Dodd was ahead on two official scorecards giving him the win. Sean Dodd advances to 17-5-1, with 3Tom Farrell falls to 17-3, with 5 Knockouts.
In a battle for the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight championship, Chris Billiam-Smith scored an impressive fifth round knockout over Craig Glover. Both fighters had their moments early on, but Billiam-Smith’s harder punches gradually allowed him to take control. In round four, a flush right hand to the head set off a barrage of punches that sent Glover down. Although Glover was able to survive the round, the punishment continued in round five as Billiam-Smith scored two more knockdowns of Glover leading to s stoppage at 1:45 of the fifth round. Chris Billiam-Smith advances to 10-1, with 9 Knockouts. Craig Glover falls to 10-3, with 8 Knockouts.
Jr. Middleweight Anthony Fowler scored a workmanlike ten round decision over previously undefeated Harry Scarff. Fowler was in control from the opening bell and scored a knockdown of Scarff with a short left hook to the head in round nine on the way to a convincing victory.Anthony Fowler advances to 11-1, with 8 Knockouts. Harry Scarff falls to 8-1, with 1 Knockout.
Light-Heavyweight Thomas Whitaker-Hart remained unbeaten by scoring a fifth round stoppage of Josip Perkovic. Whitaker-Hart used his tall 6’0 frame to pressure Perkovic. A combination in round five by Whitaker-Hart caused Perkovic to turn his back causing a stoppage at 1:26 of round five. Thomas Whitaker-Hart advances to 4-0, with 2 Knockouts. Josip Perkovic falls to 6-11-1, with 3 Knockouts.
Jr. Welterweight Steven Smith scored a six round decision over Jonny Phillips. Steven Smith advances to 28-4, with 15 Knockouts. Jonny Phillips falls to 5-3, with 2 Knockouts.
Also in the Jr. Welterweight division, Tom Aitchison scored the second win of his career by scoring a four round decision over Matija Petrinic. Tom Aitchison advances to 2-0, with 0 Knockouts. Matija Petrinic falls to 1-2, with 0 Knockouts.
Undefeated Lightweight Marcos Molloy scored a four round decision over Jamie Quinn. Marcos Molloy advances to 2-0, with 0 Knockouts. Jamie Quinn falls to 6-95-2, with 0 Knockouts.
Although Callum Smith was given a more difficult fight against John Ryder than some had expected, he still did what he needed to do to retain his world championship. From this observer’s perspective, I felt Ryder did enough to win the fight as I scored it eight rounds to four in his favor or 116-112 in points. It was the kind of fight where depending on one’s perspective scores and opinion as to who won it can vary. As for what’s next for Callum Smith, he remains in good position to potentially secure lucrative fights in either the 168lb. Super-Middleweight or 175lb. Light-Heavyweight divisions. Though this was not the showcase type of performance some may have thought it would be for Smith, he did get the win and sometimes that is all a fighter can do.
Could Callum Smith be s potential opponent for the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2020? In Boxing just about anything is possible, but after a hard fight with John Ryder, who will remain a contender and who’s stock goes up in defeat, Smith has earned a chance to rest and think about what he will do next.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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