Callum Smith retained his super middleweight world title on the scorecards in what didn’t tell the whole story from a gruelling fight in Liverpool.
‘Mundo’ was a massive favorite going into the contest, but was seemingly out-foxed by challenger John Ryder on the night.
Smith was cut and complaining about head clashes as Ryder got up close and firmly presented the formula to defeat the World Boxing Super Series winner in the future.
The final two rounds were all Ryder. Afterward, promoter Eddie Hearn looked worried when the bout went to the judges.
Hurt and uncomfortable in those final few sessions, it looked as if Ryder did just enough to take the title back to London.
As is usually the case with champions, the man in the opposite corner has to make it convincing. With several rounds tough to score, it was Smith who got the decision.
Firstly, cards of 117-111 and 116-112 (twice) were shocking. Secondly, WBN saw the fight 115-113 in favor of Ryder.
A new Commonwealth cruiserweight champion was crowned as Chris Billam Smith battered Craig Glover until the referee stepped in.
Billam Smith landed flush on Glover’s chin far too many times and it seemed a matter of time before the end came.
Down in the fourth, Glover hit the canvas twice in the fifth as Billam Smith then secured the win and the title.
Anthony Fowler picked up a world ranking by claiming a fringe version of the WBO and WBA super welterweight belts.
‘The Machine’ was frustrated by Harry Scarff at times, but his class ultimately shone through.
Almost ending the argument in the ninth, Fowler won a decisive ten round decision. Scores were 98-91 with all three judges.
Former two-time world title challenger Stephen Smith continued his run to a potential undercard slot at Anfield in a big fight by scoring a third straight win.
‘Swifty’ moved to 28-4. He took every session of six from Jonny Phillips.
James Tennyson pushed himself closer to a title shot at 135 pounds with a late knockout of Craig Evans.
The Irishman, who lost to Tevin Farmer in his only world championship chance in 2018, got the job done late after the pair engaged in a war.
Furthermore, Tennyson forced the end in the eleventh. The victor is now 26-3 as Evans drops to 20-3-2.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay