Continuing on from last year, VIP Promotions stage an evenly-matched title showdown on January 31 when Merseysiders Phil Smith and Ian Halsall throw leather for the British Masters Bronze super-flyweight belt at Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate.
Liverpool’s Smith heads into the affair with a single defeat from six outings, while his St. Helens’ rival is unblemished at 3-0. Neither of the pair, who are both twins, are reading anything into Phil’s amateur win over Ian, and both are promising to put on a tasty dessert for the dinner-show fans.
“Ian is always in your face,” said Phil, 28, who doubles as driver for a catering firm. “I’ve known Ian for a long time, he’s a nice lad and I do like him. I beat him as an amateur, and my brother Anthony beat him five times, but that was years ago.
“He works hard, but I’m going to work harder. I’ve trained hard, know what I’ve got to do, and I think I’ll be better and stronger at the end of the day. I’ll match him and am not worried at all by the distance.
“I’m experienced and I’ll figure the fight out as it goes on, but I’m ready for a high-pace. I’m sparring Kevin Satchell and Ryan Farrag who are both doing four rounds each, one in one out. I’m also working with my brother. So I’m getting a lot of good prep and the eight rounds won’t be a problem.”
“I got beat off Phil, and his brother, in the amateurs but the pro game’s very different,” countered Ian. “You can’t read anything into those defeats. It’s going to be a tough fight; a lot of people are saying it’s 50-50 but hopefully I’ll win this belt and progress onto better things. I’m quietly confident.
“Phil and Anthony are both lovely lads, but it’s boxing and when you get in the ring it’s a different story. I’m more suited to the pro game but I boxed a lot of top lads in the amateurs like Kevin Satchell, Paul Butler, Terry Flanagan, Ashley Sexton and Joe Murray, and got lots of experience.
“I’m undefeated and want to stay that way. I’m looking to surprise a few people and can’t wait.”
Promoter Steve Wood stated: “VIP put on a couple of fight-of-the-year contenders at the end of last year, and we want to carry on staging great fights and giving fans value for money. We’ve got four shows planned over the coming weeks – in Manchester, Preston and Liverpool – which are all shaping up nicely.
“This fight between Phil and Ian has all the ingredients of being a great little scrap. Ian is riding high and will want revenge over Phil for that amateur defeat, and Phil wants a British title shot and knows he cannot afford to lose this one. I’m really looking forward to it; it’s a great way to start 2015.”
‘Vegas Fight Night Comes to Manchester’ takes place at Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate on January 31, and is brought to you by Manchester Sports and Entertainment Limited in association with VIP Promotions.
Appearing will be Liverpool’s Phil Smith versus St. Helens’ Ian Halsall for the British Masters Bronze super-flyweight belt. Sharing top-billing will be Manchester’s Kallum De’Ath, and Bolton’s Paul Drago and Chris Jenkinson.
This dinner show is sold out but will be streamed live on VIPBOXING.TV