Liam Smith beat Hassan Mwakinyo to remain on course for another world title challenge, but the stoppage came in bizarre fashion.
Under pressure in the fourth round, Mwakinyo sank to a knee in his own corner. That prompted a count from the referee. As Smith closed in, Mwakinyo went down again and the Liverpudlian opened up with punches, belting him into the ropes.
The referee had taken it as a sign of surrender from the visitor, waving the bout off at 1.46 of the fourth.
Mwakinyo though quickly rose to remonstrate, seeming to want to continue once the referee’s verdict was in.
Smith himself was frustrated.
“I’m a bit gutted I never gave the fans a proper finish but it’s out of my hands,” he said.
“He said he slipped. He just quit. It doesn’t take a genius to work that out. I said about the sparring story, I knew he had it in him.”
In the previous round, Mwakinyo had tumbled over and for a moment appeared to be carrying an injury.
Yet he suddenly stood his ground and opened fire, slugging Smith with a heavy back-hand hook. That encouraged him and he pressed on with the assault then, even striking Smith after the bell had rung to end the round.
“I didn’t really do too much early on because Hassan was wild,” Smith reflected, left confused by the ending himself. “I don’t know what happened.
“I hadn’t even got going, I was jabbing, I knew Hassan would be wild and tire early and then I’d take over.”
Smith just wants to move on. “People are probably bored of me saying it,” he maintained. “Just get me a big fight.”
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