By Owen Ryan
DENIED on a split decision last summer, Tommy McCarthy could have no complaints after tonight’s fight in Manchester, with Chris Billam Smith forcing a stoppage midway through the eighth round.
The Englishman retained his European and Commonwealth titles in some style, dominating much of the contest before forcing the stoppage, with a powerful assault that saw McCarthy knocked to the canvas, with the fight stopped seconds later.
It’s a devastating defeat for the Belfast man, while it opens up the future for Billam Smith, who was outstanding on the night.
While some of the early rounds were close, there is no doubt that Billam Smith was the dominant force well before the knock out.
Throughout he was on top in the clinches, and there were plenty of those, and while McCarthy did some good things, he was largely outworked.
The first three rounds were relatively even, with much of the fighting done at very close quarters, but in the fourth Billam Smith sent out a warning, troubling McCarthy with a couple of excellent right hands midway through the round, along with a fine left hook right on the bell.
McCarthy was hurt, and Billam Smith tried to press home the advantage in the fifth. He kept the Belfast fighter backed against the ropes for much of the round, and landed several good shots while up close.
To McCarthy’s credit he rallied in the sixth, with some momentum going back in his direction. The seventh was a very even round, possibly just going Billam Smith’s way. For much of the fight McCarthy had his back to the ropes, and again pressed back in the middle of the eighth, Billam Smith launched his final assault, landing several clean and devastating shots, which led to McCarthy being left sprawled on the floor, with no question of the fight going any further.
It was a hugely impressive display from Billam Smith, who was never in any trouble on the night, with the contest very largely fought on his terms.
McCarthy was somewhat less energetic than his opponent, and despite some pockets of success, he couldn’t make it into the fight he wanted, and there was really no doubt about who was the better fighter on the night.
Picture Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom