Liam Smith edges Liam Williams as cut eye costs Welshman WBO title
Last Updated: 09/04/17 8:02am
Liam Williams failed to win the WBO's interim super-welterweight title as a damaged eye saw him pulled out after nine rounds against Liam Smith.
A clash of heads in the ninth contributed to the damage which left Williams' right eye almost completely closed as he headed back to the corner, though the Welsh boxer appeared to be cut before the contact.
Williams was ahead by a point on all three cards but visibly tiring, and trainer Gary Lockett called a halt, confirming a first defeat in 18 professional contests for his man.
The interim title remains vacant as Smith's failure to make weight on Friday left him ineligible to reclaim a strap he held on a permanent basis until September's defeat to Canelo Alvarez.
Smith looked in danger of succumbing to a cut himself for much of the fight, a straight left in the third capping Williams' impressive start and opening a nasty wound above his opponent's right eye.
The ringside doctor took a look during the seventh but waved the fight on, and Smith's stamina was starting to bring rewards by the time the end came after the pick of the rounds.
Elsewhere, Terry Flanagan closed in on a money-spinning unification showdown after beating Russian Petr Petrov on points to successfully defend his WBO lightweight title for the fifth time at the Manchester Arena.
Flanagan was given a good work-out by his experienced Russian opponent before coming on strong in the second half of the contest to claim a 116-112, 120-108, 118-110 victory on the judges' cards.
Now Flanagan will hope to land a high-profile clash with either Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko or Anthony Crolla's recent conqueror, Jorge Linares.
Nicola Adams began her pro career with a convincing victory in a four-rounder against Argentine Virginia Noemi Carcamo.
The double Olympic champion was given every round of the flyweight contest by the referee and briefly threatened a stoppage in the fourth.