Telford's Liam Davies sets his sights on ruling the world next year
A world title is on Liam Davies' agenda for 2024 after the Telford fighter retained his European belt with an impressive fifth-round stoppage in Manchester.
Davies was too strong for Italy's Vinzenzo La Femina as he extended his unbeaten career record to 15-0 in front of a boisterous travelling contingent from Shropshire.
It was not all smooth-sailing for the Donnington 27-year-old, who dropped to the canvas via a left hook in a brief defensive lapse in round three.
But that aside Davies – who initially claimed the belt last November – possessed too much power for the capable Italian. La Femina also hit the deck in an entertaining third round before hitting back, but Davies sent his opponent sprawling twice in a dominant fifth round before referee Fabian Guggenheim stepped in to stop the contest in front of the television cameras.
Speaking with promoter Frank Warren, who backed his fighter to be closing in on a world shot, Davies doubled down on his determination to reach the heights set by Northern Irishman Carl Frampton, the world champion at super-bantamweight.
"It was always the plan (to deliver fireworks), in my two 12 rounds fights that went the distance it was just about getting the job done, I get the work done, dedicate my life to boxing," Davies said after a 15th professional success from 15.
"Like I just said to Frank, the last super-bantamweight great champion was Carl Frampton, I know he does the commentary, next up is Liam Davies – trust me.
"This is for the people that came out to support me, the people at home, saving money for Christmas because times are hard – I haven't forgot about you. I hope everyone has a good Christmas and I want my present to be a world title to Telford. Hopefully Uncle Frank can sort that out for us very soon!"
Davies, who received a small nick above his left eyebrow, went for his rival from the off with some heavy blows to the body with less than a minute remaining of the first round.
La Famina was caught again in the third and it forced a standing eight count. Davies came back at the Italian as he searched for a stoppage, but La Famina landed a counter-punch and it was the champion’s turn to take a count.
A left-hook at the end of the fourth round drew another standing count. Halfway through the fifth Davies found a way through the defence to unload a flurry of blows and force the referee to step in.
Promoter Warren said: "He's not far off challenging for a world title now, a couple more fights and he will do it.
"He's doing it the traditional way, that was a fantastic win against a very capable performer. He got clipped himself but he controlled it, was very composed, came back into it and did a brilliant job. That was a very, very good, professional and composed performance."