Top super middleweight prospects Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding will face the biggest tests of their careers tonight at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, as they look to confirm a long awaited local showdown, already scheduled for 26th September.
Smith, 16-0 (12KO’s), tops the bill in his clash with Frenchman and former George Groves foe Christophe Rebrasse, 23-3-3 (6KO’s) over 12-rounds for the vacant WBC Silver super middleweight championship.
The former European super middleweight champion will look to provide a decent examination of the mercurial prospect that has made light work of all comers since he burst on the scene in 2012, including former world title challenger Nikola Sjekloca.
Rebrasse looks the perfect opponent for Smith at this stage of his career, one paced and light punching the Frenchman is insistent, without commanding the necessary power to allow his high paced pressure style to flourish. He is durable – having never been stopped – and will give Smith the much needed rounds following a hand injury.
I expect Smith to have too much for Rebrasse in every single department imaginable, speed, technique power and above all the will to outperform George Groves in halting the experienced super middleweight for the first time in his career.
Rocky Fielding, 20-0 (11KO’s), faces a somewhat tougher task as chief support against the experienced and strong Brian Vera, 23-9 (14KO’s), who if hungry could provide the scouser will the real examination his career has lacked to date, despite doing everything asked of him thus far.
Fielding has gone under the radar, a victim of the booming domestic super middleweight division which has seen Froch, Groves, DeGale and the Smith brother steal the limelight, forcing him to take a back seat. He will no doubt see tonight as his moment to crash the party.
The butterflies will be going and that seems to get the best from Fielding, who stopped Noe Gonzalez Alcoba in 5 rounds in his last fight at the Echo in July 2014. He needs the big fights now and with Brian Vera in town, with the resume he has, Fielding can’t ask for a better stage to display his power.
He has the power and the skills to get the job done, but Vera will make him work for it and at the same time give him an opportunity to rip away the credit he no doubt feels deserves.
Also on the bill we see the return of Tony Bellew, 23-2-1 (14KO’s), who looks to establish himself even further in the cruiserweight division with IBF ruler Yoan Pablo Hernandez in his sights. He faces late Croatian replacement Ivan Bacurin, 22-7-1 (12KO’s), after original heavy hitting Czech Lubos Suda 33-9-1 pulled out.
Finally, Martin Murray, 29-2-1 (12KO’s), will step into the ring in his first appearance at 168lbs and under the Matchroom banner, when he faces George Beroshvili, 19-5-2 (12KO’s).
It’s a huge night for Martin Murray who has his eyes on the world honours his middleweight career unfairly failed to deliver. It will also be a huge night for his St Helens faithful, who has scoured the world following their hero.