Holder: Smith celebrates his victory over Mark Gallagher in OctoberLiam-Smith-1   Photo by Getty – 

The bout will take place at the Manchester Arena just two months after Smith won the WBO light-middleweight title in the same venue in October

Liam Smith will make the first defence of his WBO light-middleweight title against Jimmy Kelly on December 19 at the Manchester Arena.

Smith and the unbeaten Kelly clash on a double world title show, live on BoxNation, alongside WBO middleweight champ Andy Lee’s twice-postponed fight with Billy Joe Saunders.

Kelly, 23, is undefeated in 16 professional fights.

Smith, who won the title against Joe Gallagher in October, said: “I can’t wait to make the opening defence of my world title against Kelly.

“I’m entering the prime of my career and I’m not going to let an upstart like Kelly anywhere near taking my title. This belt is leaving with me back to its home in Liverpool.”

Kelly said: “I just know that this is my time and I’m ready for my opportunity to become world champion.

“Boxing is about opportunities – either you take them when they’re presented or you lose them and somebody else will take it.

“I’m not going to be someone who dwells on a missed opportunity and I’m going out there to smash up Liam Smith and take his world title.

“I’ll have too much of everything for Smith in every department.”


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While Jimmy Kelly is honoured to be getting into the ring with Liam Smith for the Liverpudlian’s first defence of his WBO world light-middleweight, the feeling certainly isn’t mutual.

The unbeaten Manchester man has landed himself a surprise crack at the world title, despite never having contested a British or Commonwealth title fight.

And Smith says it’s time Kelly puts his money where his mouth is even if it means teaching him a lesson.

“The couple of names we first asked for couldn’t get done and the fight is in five weeks time so we needed to hurry up,” said Smith.

Liverpool WBO Super-Welterweight champion Liam Smith is to face Manchester boxer Jimmy Kelly at the Manchester Arena on December 19th 2015 in the X-Mas CrackerJS76417270

“Jimmy Kelly is number eight in the rankings and he has been using my name for long enough, so now it’s time for him to back it up.

“That’s why I have that bit of fire in me because I was fuming with him for even mentioning me in interviews.

“He hasn’t won a British title and yet he’s talking about me. He’s got his wish now and I’m going to show him how wrong he was to call me out.”

Despite what Smith sees as a straightforward defence, there is little chance he’ll be taking Kelly’s challenge lightly. The Wythenshawe boxer has racked up a decent 16-0 record, claiming the WBO inter-continental title last time out against Martin Fidel Rios.

“There is no way in the world I’m going in underestimating him,” said Beefy. “I have always said a true champion defends his title; I have won and defended the British title in one of my best performances, and I’m going to do that again.

“Without sounding bad, I’m going to wipe the floor with Jimmy Kelly and show the difference in levels; why I’m there and why he shouldn’t. He should be fighting for a British or Commonwealth title, not fighting me.”

The 27-year-old feels more than confident of adding another name his list of victims and insists that not even Kelly’s corner believes he can do it.

He said: “His coach came and sat next to mine last time out in Manchester and said ‘we know we’re not ready for Liam, that fight is down the line’. This was at his last fight, but he has it now, in his next fight. I’ll prove they were right.

“For me, this is just wages for Christmas. It means I go on holiday and have a drink on Jimmy Kelly while lying on a beach somewhere.”

He added: “Do you think Jimmy Kelly is going to beat me on the back of Stephen winning his final eliminator, me winning a world title and Callum doing what he has done to Rocky Fielding? We’re absolutely flying; no way Jimmy Kelly is going to beat me December 19, not a chance.

“I’ll put everything into place and stop him late; don’t be surprised if I stop him early though.”

He continued: “I think he forgets that I chose to go to Manchester to fight a Manchester kid, it doesn’t bother me. I have done it before and I’ll do it again. He’s not the biggest ticket seller and I’ll not have the whole of the MEN shouting against me, but even if he did, it can’t help him.”

Moving forward, Smith wants to put the Mosley talk to one side, but does want to look forward to a big fight in 2016.

“I’m hoping to get a big name for April/May or maybe get on that February bill with a decent name. Whatever comes about, I’m happy. If I’m not happy defending a world title then I don’t know what will ever make me happy.”



3000  Credit Photo by: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

  • Liverpool boxer sets sights on America after seventh-round KO
  • ‘People chase world titles and I have one. They’ve got to chase me now’

Liam Smith has become the new WBO world super-welterweight champion after seeing off John Thompson with a seventh-round knockout in Manchester.

The 27-year-old Smith was given the Twitter vote of confidence by England and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney prior to the bout for the vacant belt, and the Liverpudlian seemed to take heart as he slowly grew into the fight following a defensive first few rounds.

By the time the sixth round came Smith, one of four boxing brothers, was on the rise thanks to a few well-placed jabs and he produced the decisive punch in the seventh, leaving the referee to wave the fight in his favour.

Smith, who extended his run to 21-0-1, said: “I can’t describe how I feel right now, it just hasn’t sunk in, but I can tell how much it means to everyone around me.

“I’d be a liar if I said I never looked past Thompson but the situation that it was, I just did. I seen Shane Mosley calling out Cornelius Bundrage last week and he doesn’t even have a world title. I have the world title now, so Shane Mosley should be calling me out.

“These are massive fights and massive names. People chase world titles and I have one so they’ve got to chase me now. I’m excited to see what names I get offered now.

“I don’t really care where I defend my title but I have fulfilled one dream and now another dream is to win a world title in America. I would love to defend it back home too; I’m defending a world title wherever and that’s just amazing.”


Date:  Saturday – October 10, 2015


Location: Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N. Arena), Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Promoter:  Queensberry Promotions / Frank Warren

Supervisor:  Istvan Kovacs

Referee:   Marcus McDonnell

Judges:  Steve Gray (56-58); Mark Nelson (57-57); Andre Van Grootenbruel (57-57)

Results:   Liam Smith has become the new WBO Jr. Middleweight champion after seeing off John Thompson with a seventh-round knockout.





August 24th 2015

Frank Warren

Frank Warren Promotions:
Re: Vacant WBO Jr. Middleweight Championship Bout

Liam Smith vs. John Thompson

Dear Mr. Warren:

The WBO World Championship Committee has been made aware that negotiations for a match in Manchester, England on October 10, 2015 between Liam Smith and Michel Soro for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight Championship of the World started three weeks ago, but despite Top Rank agreeing to the terms, Soro and his managers have repeatedly made strong public statements suggesting that they are at odds with his promoter over the terms presented to them.

We are also aware that in light of assurances that an agreement would be reached, tickets went on sale and your company contracted with numerous suppliers, etc. This situation, ongoing for weeks, has had a detrimental effect on the promotion of the event promotion with the public uncertain as to who Smith’s opponent will be and whether the fight will take place at all.

Given Michel Soro’s dispute with his Promoter and the power and discretion afforded to us by Section 1 (b) 19 of the WBO Regulations for World Championship Contest to determine the contestants for a Vacant Championship, we have decided to proceed pursuant to Section 20 (PROCEDURE WHEN A TITLE IS DECLARED VACANT) and declare John Thompson the “Best Classified Contender Available.”

For the above reasons, we are formally granting permission for Liam Smith to fight John Thompson for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight Championship of the World.

This determination of the WBO World Championship Committee to allow Thompson to replace Soro will not adversely affect Soro’s position within the WBO World Championship Ratings.

Yours truly,

(Signed by:  Luis Batista Salas, Esq. Chairman)

cc:  Top Rank, Michael Borao, Omrani Raycal, Che Guevara, Francisco Valcarcel Esq.