Eddie Hearn has announced a mouth watering Mersey derby showdown - when he declared that former world champion Liam Smith will face rising super-welterweight star Anthony Fowler at the M&S Arena in Liverpool on October 9.

Fowler stopped Germany’s Rico Mueller in the eighth round of a one-sided bout at the latest Fight Camp to set up a showdown with former world champ Smith.

Afterwards Hearn said: "Anthony Fowler will fight Liam Smith in Liverpool. It's the battle of Liverpool. It's just a tremendous fight. Liam Smith is a world class fighter.

"The opportunity was put to Anthony. He's 30 years of age and he said 'I want to take the jump, I want to take the risk'.

"Liam Smith has operated at world level and comes back to domestic level. You don't see these fights very often. Liverpool is one of the best cities in the world and one of the best fighter cities in the world. There is nothing like a big fight in Liverpool. It will be a massive fight for the city."

Fowler himself admitted: "My next opponent is a really, really good fighter. Much better than him (Mueller) so I needed rounds. I wobbled him in round two but I thought 'not today'. My last fight was three rounds and I thought I needed rounds, so I stepped back and tried to work on a few things.

"I'm from the south of the city, he's from the north. He's ten times better than that fighter but I don't turn fights down."

The showdown rekindles memories of Callum Smith's British title collision with Rocky Fielding in 2015, which electrified the then Echo Arena.

Fowler's latest stoppage success, in the eighth round, took his record to 15 wins from 16 contests, with 12 early finishes - the only blemish a points reverse to Scott Fitzgerald in March 2019.

Smith has dropped three decisions in his 33 fight career - but all to world class opposition. A points defeat to Russia's Magomed Kurbanov, in Russia in May, was debatable in the extreme, while Jaime Munguia and Canelo Alvarez are boxing elite.

Amateur clashes between Fowler and Liam's younger brother Callum - with a win apiece - add extra edge to an already appetising contest.

The full undercard will be announced in due course.