Good News for Liam Smith: Michel Soro Out / Now Fights American John Thompson for WBO 154lb Strap

08/25/2015 - By Olly Campbell - Comments

Britain’s unbeaten Liam Smith (20-0-1, 10ko) has a new opponent for his October 10th challenge for the vacant WBO light-middleweight title after dangerous Frenchman Michel Soro has been ruled out following an unspecified “internal disagreement” with his promoters, Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

It’s fair to say that replacement American contender John Thompson (17-1, 6ko) presents a far more winnable proposition for the talented young Scouser, who is looking to be the first of his family of fighting brothers to lift a world title.

The relatively inexperienced American has never been beyond 8 rounds in his career, never boxed a 12 rounder, and his best win is an upset victory over countryman Brandon Adams in this years “Boxcino” tournament final, which he won after stopping his man in 2 after touching down in the opening seconds of the fight.

It is also only 18 months since the “Apollo Kidd” was brutally knocked out by New Yorker Frank Galarza in 2 rounds, stunned with a big right and a follow up left hook that finished the job in style, mere seconds after the bell signalled the start of the round.

One wonders just how suspect the chin of the American, who enjoys painting and ballet dancing in his spare time, really is?

”I am ecstatic at the opportunity. I will look to take advantage of it and ready to win and become world champion, he said at the news of this unexpected title shot. “It won’t feel like fighting the road. I have family in Scotland, who will be at the fight. I’ve been there before and that was a pleasure trip, I am coming this time for business.”

Smith, who will have to adjust his training to accommodate the taller, more awkward man, should be toasting the news of the change, though obviously still cannot afford to get complacent.

“I’m not bothered about Soro, all I care about is Thompson and beating him and getting that belt around my waist,” he said. I’ve seen Thompson before as I keep my eye on everyone in the division as I might one day fight them.

“I don’t care who’s in front of me, nobody is going to stop me from winning the world title,” Smith added.

Promoter Frank Warren has acted swiftly to prevent disruption to, or cancelation of Smith’s opportunity, by petitioning the WBO and getting Thompson in.

This ostensibly “easier” task for Smith is perhaps karmic reward for his loyalty to the veteran promoter, given brothers Paul and Stephen previously jumped ship to rival Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, where youngest brother Callum also fights.

“Having agreed and confirmed a deal with Soro’s promoter and then having announced the fight, I was very disappointed to hear there was an internal disagreement between him (Soro) and his promoter,” Warren said.

“We didn’t wish to be involved in this dispute and wait any longer for this to be resolved which would have held up the WBO title and Liam fighting for it.

“Therefore we sought approval from the WBO for the next available contender which was John Thompson who jumped at the chance to fight for the World title.

“We’re still over six weeks’ away so Liam can adjust his training and strategy for Thompson who’s a tall, tough fighter and will be looking to cause a big upset by defeating Liam.”

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