Degale breaks Liverpool hearts
Olympian James Degale stopped Paul Smith in front of a vociferous crowd in Liverpool tonight in the 9th round in impressive fashion, despite his lack of professional experience.
The fight began with both men having their success. Then a clash of heads opened up a cut on Smith's eyebrow, which seemed to swing the fight in Degale's favour after he gained confidence from the sight of his opponent's blood.
As the fight wore on, Smith's output reduced and Degale began to put together spiteful combinations which stung the current champion. Long left hands, hooks and jabs opened up Smith from the mid rounds onwards.
Then in the 9th round Degale hit Smith with a swarm of heavy shots and it was testament to Smith's grit as he managed to stay upright despite the wave of hayemakers from the challenger.
But with a minute left of the round, referee Howard Foster stepped in as Smith was caught by a heavy hook, lurching him into the corner.
Degale who now takes the British crown said: "It's a dream come true. Its another step towards the world title. Paul Smith is true British champion. I got caught with a couple of silly shots. But I was in control.
"I'm the best domestically. Carl Froch aside, I'm leagues above the domestic opposition.I'm not like other olympians. I'm the real deal."
Paul Smith falls to 29-2 (15ko) and James Degale rises to 9-0 (7ko).
Follow us on Twitter or Facebook