Exclusive: Liam Smith - I don't need to play mind games with Anthony Fowler

"I'm 33, I've boxed Canelo Alvarez, Jaime Munguia, I don't need to play mind games with Anthony Fowler."

Liam Smith has made it clear - he is not friends with Anthony Fowler.

The pair have agreed to collide in a mouth-watering showdown in Liverpool on October 9 and faced off for the first time at Tuesday's press conference.

Smith is returning for the first time since his controversial defeat in Russia to Magomed Kurbanov and a victory can help him get back into world title contention.

A former world champion at 154lbs, the 33-year-old will go into the contest with much more experience at professional level having been in with the likes of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Jaime Munguia and Liam Williams.

While Fowler said complimentary things about his opponent, "Beefy" stole the headlines by refusing to shake the hand of the 2016 Olympian.

"I just don't want to lure anyone into a false sense of security that we're friends at the moment we're not," Smith exclusively told Planet Sport.

"I think Anthony and his team are coming to probably try and end my career and I don't want them being deluded and being misled that this is a nice friendship type of fight and stuff like that.

"I'm bang up for it for this fight and I just want them to know that I'm not going to shake his hand and be his friend when I walk away and I'm hating him for the next nine weeks. He's trying to end my career.

"I don't need to play mind games, that's not a mind game that's just not shaking hands I don't need mind games - I'm 33, I've boxed Canelo Alvarez, Jaime Munguia, I don't need to play mind games with Anthony Fowler.

"He's from my own city. If we want to play mind games I'd f***ing phone him and go meet him or whatnot but I don't need mind games. I never said something out there that was a lie or to make him bite. The only thing I did was not shake his hand because I don't want to.

"I'm not shaking his hand as if we're friendly, walking away and being in the gym working hard - I'm hating Anthony Fowler. There was no malice behind it and I'm just not being false," Smith added.

Bragging rights

Fowler has joined one of boxing's best trainers in Shane McGuigan and together they have racked up four successive wins inside the distance.

His most recent performance was at Fight Camp, defeating Rico Mueller via TKO in round eight. His current record is 15-1 with the only blemish on his record coming against Scott Fitzgerald in 2019 by split decision.

Smith admits claiming bragging rights in the city of Liverpool is something which convinced him to take the domestic dust-up.

"Of course, that's what has got me bang up for this fight. This is a local derby in Liverpool. I've seen my brothers in local derbies and it's a derby I'm bang up for.

"Yeah I think he's improved, the jabs got a little bit better, sharper but I think again once the fight goes on he just reverts back to doing what he does and what he knows. I think he runs out of ideas and starts to come apart after four rounds."

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