LIAM SMITH has revealed that top of his boxing bucket list is to defend the WBO super-welterweight title at Anfield – home of his beloved Liverpool football club.
‘Beefy’ bids to win back his old crown when he challenges Mexican star Jaime Munguia (29-0) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Smith (26-1-1) believes that becoming the first two-time world champion from Liverpool will mean all roads lead to a big fight at Anfield next summer.
He is a mad Liverpool fan and many of his Saturday’s and midweek evenings are spent sitting in the famous Kop end.
He explained: “I did a boxing bucket list and fighting for a world title in Las Vegas was one of the very last things on it and that is what I am doing.
“I added to the bucket list the other day because the only thing not ticked was to win a British title outright.
“I won a professional title, a British title, a world title, defended a world title and the next one is this fighting for a world title in Las Vegas.
“I put one more on it and that is to fight at Anfield. I had to add something big because when I do beat Munguia, Anfield becomes a big possibility.
“There has been meetings about different events at Anfield and I think they are keen on boxing taking place there.
“My promoter Frank Warren recently did Lee Selby and Josh Warrington at Elland Road, David Haye fought at Upton Park and of course there is Anthony Joshua at Wembley and Cardiff.
“I think Anfield want to get involved and they can with myself, my brothers and other Reds who are professional boxers. It is realistic.
“Anfield have seen what these events can do and me fighting there could be the first boxing event.”
Smith hopes that beating the unbeaten champion who will be making the first defence in the BT Sport televised clash will be a fantastic early birthday present ahead of his 30th next week.
He added: “I have dreamt of fighting in Las Vegas since I was 17 or 18 years old, but it is more than boxing there and I will be gutted if I don’t win.”
LIAM WILLIAMS BELIEVES his fellow super welterweight Liam Smith is in for a tough night against the Mexican banger Jaime Munguia in Las Vegas this weekend, but suspects his old adversary has got what it takes to repel the fire of the 21-year-old and take the fight to the wire.
Munguia stepped in to replace mandatory challenger Smith back in May when Sadam Ali – who defeated Miguel Cotto in his final fight – held the WBO world super welterweight title.
Munguia caused something of an upset by flooring Ali four times on his way to a fourth round stoppage and the former WBC Latino champion must now fulfil the mandatory obligation against Smith.
Munguia has only been taken the distance four times in his 29 fights so far, with three of those coming in his early four and six rounders.
So Smith, as Williams suggests, is up against a bit of a puncher.
“Yes he looks good and looks like he can punch a bit,” said the Welshman, who fought Smith twice in 2017, losing the first due to a severe cut and the second via a majority points decision.
“It is a difficult one to call really because Liam is so tough and durable and he is actually a lot more skilful than people give him credit for.
“People think he is very basic and just comes forward, but when you are actually in the ring with him he is a lot more effective than he looks from the outside.”
Williams, however, was at a bit of a loss when it came to actually picking a winner in a fight that will be screened live and exclusive on BT Sport 1 from 3am on Sunday morning from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
“I don’t know, it is such a close one to call and I think it is one that will come down to the wire and go the distance. It could be a really gruelling fight and very close.”
He might have struggled to pick a winner, but the 26-year-old did not hedge his bets when asked if he would like a shot at the winner. Williams is preparing for an expected September return in new surrounding under recently appointed trainer Dominic Ingle in Sheffield.
“One hundred per cent I would fancy it with either of them,” he insisted. “Whoever wins, I can’t really see myself being in position to get the next shot, but I would certainly take it.
“I am back on a roll now, I feeling good and I am re-motivated, which a lot of people didn’t realise I needed because I never really said anything.
“Even for the second Smith fight I was lacking in motivation and didn’t really care enough. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win and I tried, but I didn’t have the motivation I should have had.
“What’s done is done and I am excited now by what is to come.”
LIAM SMITH will be fired up by critics who have trashed his chances of taking the WBO super-welterweight title challenge from Jaime Munguia in Las Vegas on Saturday July 21.
The Liverpool boxer will be attempting to regain the title he lost against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in September 2016 when their clash drew 51,000 fans to the AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Munguia, 21, has won all 29 professional fights with 25 wins coming by KO. He caused an upset in May when he ripped the title from Sadam Ali – stopping the defending champion in four rounds.
But Smith is ready to ruin the Mexican’s first defence at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and earn himself huge unification clashes that will set him up for life.
Smith, 29, said ahead of the fight that will be shown by BT Sport: “I will be gutted if I don’t win this fight.
“I am a little bit more hungry because a few people have written me off so I’m gonna make them eat their words.
“It has given me a little bit more fire. I want to become a world champion again.”
“Munguia is a good fighter. He is big for the weight and it doesn’t take a genius to see he can punch.
“He is one of those young, enthusiastic fighters who is trying to make a statement in every fight and he’s just getting better and better.
“It is winnable, but it is what a world title fight should be. I’m a challenger, on the road and it should be a tough fight.”
Smith whose only defeat in 28 fights came against Canelo is taking little notice of Munguia’s win against Ali.
He explained: “Sadam Ali was in the right place, right time when he beat Miguel Cotto to win the title, but I still thought he might have had too much nous for Munguia.
“I watched Munguia in February before there was talk of him fighting any of the names and classed him as a decent prospect who was coming through.
“Apart from Sadam he hasn’t fought any one of note. If you look at his record there is not one other person there where you’d say, ‘Look he has beaten, him’.
“The way the fight happened I wasn’t fully surprised because it was basically a middleweight against a welterweight.
“I am not small for a super-welterweight though and that is one reason why I am not fazed by this. I’m big enough myself and confident in my own size.”
If Smith wins he will become the first two-time world champion from Liverpool and is the first scouser to top the bill in the world’s fight capital.
He said: “For someone who didn’t want to box as a kid I’ve fought Canelo in Dallas, and now I am topping the bill in Las Vegas on BT Sport and HBO.”