Wednesday, September 27, 2023  |


Liam Smith withdraws from title fight, Sadam Ali seeking replacement foe for May 12

Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Sadam Ali is need of a new opponent for his first title defense.

The junior middleweight titleholder was slated to fight mandatory challenger Liam Smith in an HBO main event on May 12 in Verona, New York, but that fight is now off. Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told THE RING on Friday that Smith’s promoter, Frank Warren, informed him this morning that Smith is dealing with an allergic reaction and had to withdraw.

Gomez said the plan is to find a replacement opponent for Ali, THE RING’s No. 4 junior middleweight.

Ali (26-1, 14 knockouts) will be headlining his first HBO show after a shocking upset of future hall of famer Miguel Cotto in December. Ali, an Olympian, used his speed and boxing skills to outpoint Cotto and pick up a 154-pound title.

The 29-year-old Brooklynite moved up from 147 pounds for the opportunity. He was a top welterweight prospect, but when he moved up in competition for a title fight against Jessie Vargas, he was stopped in nine rounds.

So when he accepted the fight with Cotto, Ali was given little chance to compete, let alone win. But he did, sending the Puerto Rican into retirement with a loss. And now, he’s left searching for a new opponent to prove he’s for real.

Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) is best known for a one-sided stoppage defeat to Canelo Alvarez in 2016. One of the four fighting Smith brothers from the U.K., he’s coming off consecutive close victories over Liam Williams.

THE RING’s No. 6 junior middleweight topped John Thompson for a vacant title in 2015 and made two successful defenses against limited opposition before he ran into Alvarez.

And now, he’ll have to wait for another opportunity to win a title.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger