Liam Smith's first fight as a Matchroom boxer was a resounding success, stopping Sam Eggington in the first half of their bout.
In the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card from Liverpool, England, Smith captured the WBC Silver junior middleweight title with a one-sided victory over Eggington. The referee stopped the fight with about a minute to go in the fifth round after it became clear Eggington was fighting a losing battle against the former world champion.
Smith dominated the entire fight, landing the lead hand with ease although he did have to deal with a cut at the top of the head suffered in the first round that had blood flowing to the left side of his head. This didn't affect Smith at all as he continued to pressure Eggington to the corner and overpowered him with dazzling combinations that rarely missed the mark. By the time the fifth round started, Eggington was already battered and bruised, leading the way for Smith's stoppage win.
It was Smith's first fight back since losing a 12-round decision to current WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia last year. Smith once held the title from 2015 to 2016, but lost the belt to Canelo Alvarez in Arlington, Texas in September 2016. Smith signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing back in January after splitting with former promoter Frank Warren.
With the WBC Silver title in his possession, Smith is now in a solid position to eventually challenge for a world title once again. The WBC world title, currently being held by Tony Harrison, will be unavailable for Smith for the next few months as Harrison is likely headed for a rematch against former champion Jermell Charlo next.
As for what is next for Smith, a few names are being thrown around as a potential opponent: Former welterweight champions Jessie Vargas and Kell Brook and current European 154-pound champion Sergio Garcia. With both Garcia and Brook being ranked in the top 3 of the WBC rankings at that weight class, a fight against either man for Smith could potentially serve as a title eliminator for Harrison's title.