BOXING

Callum Smith earns controversial decision over John Ryder

Liverpool’s Callum Smith defended his WBA super-middleweight title against John Ryder via a unanimous decision on Saturday.

On his big homecoming show in Liverpool, Smith was looking to defend his title in front of his home crowd, hoping to set up a big title unification fight in 2020.

Ranked as the world number 1 by Ring Magazine, Smith came into the fight as a heavy favorite against London’s Ryder but the fight was very competitive.

The judges scored the bout 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 all in favor of Smith, causing lots of controversy as many thought the fight was much closer with many believing Ryder won it.

To see how Twitter reacted to the controversy, click here.

Home fighter bias has long been a problem in boxing with the saying “the cards are already in” often being thrown around when a fighter is announced as fighting in their hometown.

English boxing has come under scrutiny in recent years for region bias and this decision in particular looks particularly poor.

Smith has come out and said: “I am very disappointed in myself, I am a perfectionist. I knew it was close but I never thought I was behind.”

Steve Bunce, the BBC Radio 5 Live co-commentator for the fight, said: “They know tonight they have got away with it. I have no problem with Smith winning by a round or two but those scores in my opinion are a bit wide.”

What should have been the talking point here is John Ryder putting on a great performance to really test Liverpool’s Callum Smith in a high-level all British title fight.

Instead, boxing continues to shoot itself in the foot with its own biases, making the talking point once again about corruption within boxing instead of the sport itself.

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