It’s the birthplace of The Beatles, known for its inventions and innovations in public health and social reform, as well as its eclectic nightlife and rich history of performing arts.
As far as CES Boxing’s Vladine Biosse is concerned, Liverpool, England, is just another city, another venue, another stop along the way, as he continues his slow, steady climb toward the top of the super middleweight division before Father Time has its say.
More than 50 years since the birth of Beatlemania, and 40 years since “Mr. Moonlight” Frankie Vaughan dominated the UK Top 40, Liverpool is bracing itself for “Mr. Providence” as Biosse (15-3-2, 7 KOs) faces his toughest test to date at Echo Arena.
The 32-year-old southpaw will challenge undefeated champion Callum Smith (11-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-round bout Saturday, June 12th, 2014 for the World Boxing Council (WBC) International title, which Smith captured in October and defended for the first time in May with a second-round knockout win over Tobias Webb.
While Smith has already predicted a late stoppage Saturday, accounting for how long it’ll take him to adjust to a southpaw challenger, Biosse is playing it cool, offering no insight other than the promise to leave everything in the ring.
“I will give him hell,” he said.
In the cramped, competitive super middleweight division, Biosse is as tough as it gets. The former University of Rhode Island football player gave unbeaten prospect J’Leon Love “hell” in his last bout Feb. 28th in New York, taking Love into the 10th and final round before referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stopped the fight, a curious decision since Biosse had already absorbed Love’s best for nine rounds.
Though he’s yet to face the same level of competition Love has gone toe-to-toe with, the 6-foot-3 Smith is considered one of the most promising up-and-comers in the 168-pound weight class.
The youngest of four brothers – Paul, Liam and Stephen – all of whom boxed professionally, Smith came within a whisker of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, losing a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals of the qualifier in Turkey.
As a pro, he’s won nine consecutive bouts by knockout, including his most recent fight in May in which he sent Webb to the canvas four times in the second round, and another dominant performance in April against 54-fight veteran Francois Bastient, whose corner threw in the towel in the third round when a short, right uppercut put Bastient halfway through the ropes.
The key for Biosse will be fighting effectively on the inside, which is the best way to neutralize Callum’s reach and soften his defense. In a scheduled eight-round bout against 6-foot-4 veteran Marcus Upshaw in January of 2013, Biosse got off to a strong start by boxing on the inside and staying away from Upshaw’s jab. Once Upshaw found his range, he peppered Biosse with combinations set up by the jab and eventually earned the stoppage 2 minutes, 25 seconds into the final round, sending Biosse to the canvas twice.
Biosse had won his previous three fights before the loss to Upshaw. Since then, he’s 1-1-1, including a win over Philadelphia’s Latif Mundy and a draw against Rhode Island’s Rich Gingras. Among his most notable wins are victories on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights against Joey McCreedy and Tim Connors and a unanimous decision win over intrastate rival and former regional title-holder Joey Spina.
Winning the WBC International title would go a long way toward putting Biosse in the mix among the elite fighters in his weight class. Over the past decade, seven of the nine fighters who held the WBC International Super Middleweight title went on to win world championships, a list that includes Mikkel Kessler, Otis Grant, Jurgen Braehmer, Mario Veit, Denis Inkin, Robert Stieglitz and Adonis Stevenson.
The Biosse-Smith fight is one of four title bouts on Saturday’s card in Liverpool, promoted by Matchroom Boxing. Former world light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title against Argentinian Alejandro Emilio Valori in a 12-round bout.
“I appreciate the invite and the opportunity to come overseas for this fight and challenge the champion,” Biosse said, “but make no mistake, I am coming to win like I do every time out.
“I’ve seen tapes and I respect Callum as a fighter, but I’m always and I always come to fight.”
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