Friday, September 27, 2013
Smith brothers make British history
By Dan Rafael
Stephen, Liam and Paul Smith are the first trio of brothers to hold British titles at the same time.
Brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko both hold world heavyweight titles at the same time. Brothers Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez were also world champions simultaneously. They are two of the greatest brother combinations in boxing history.
In England, the Smith brothers -- three of them -- do not hold world titles but they all now hold British titles after Liam Smith (15-0-1, 5 KOs) claimed the junior middleweight belt last Saturday by outpointing Erick Ochieng.
Paul Smith (33-3, 19 KOs) is the British super middleweight champ and Stephen Smith (17-1, 10 KOs) has the British junior lightweight title, making them the first trio of brothers to hold British championships at the same time.
To make the situation even cooler, they will each defend their titles on the same Dec. 3 card at Echo Arena in their hometown of Liverpool, England.
Paul, who is 30 and the oldest brother, will make the first defense of his second British title reign against Luke Blackledge while Liam, 25, and Stephen, 28, do not have opponents yet.
"It's incredible that we are all holding British titles at the same time," Paul said. "It's not something that we set out to do, but it's unbelievable that we are now all holding prestigious Lonsdale belts. As the eldest brother, I'm so proud of what Stephen and Liam have achieved. Personally, I'm proud to hold my British super middleweight title again. It's a beautiful belt and now I've got to defend it against a tough challenger in Blackwell on a very special night."
There have been other British brother trios who were very good -- Randolph, Dick and Jackie Turpin, Duke, Clinton and Winston McKenzie and Chris, Peter and Simon Eubank -- but none did what the Smiths have done.
"To think that three brothers could hold British titles at the same time would be a stretch seeing that British boxing's great family names like the Turpins, McKenzies and Eubanks didn't do it," said Stephen, who knocked out Gary Buckland in the fifth round to win his belt on Aug. 17. "It's fantastic that we'll be in the sporting history books as the first ever brothers to all hold British titles. Now it's back to business in the gym and we've all got to retain our titles at the Echo Arena, which will create even more history."
Said Liam, "Beating Ochieng on Saturday and holding the Lonsdale belt felt like I had won the world title on the night. I'm so proud of my brothers and we've all stuck together through thick and thin to now be British champions. It's all about hard [work] and dedication and we've shown that. We all want the best for each other and now it's about retaining our titles at the Echo Arena and then moving on to world titles."