Liam Davies claimed the vacant European super-bantamweight title with a disciplined display as he outboxed Ionut Baluta over 12 high-intensity rounds in his hometown of Telford.

Baluta, a 28-year-old Romanian living in Spain, had proved a menace to British and Irish boxers in recent times, beating Brad Foster, David Oliver Joyce, TJ Doheny and Kyle Williams in the past three years and giving a tough fight to Michael Conlan.

Davies, 26, is a boxer on the rise, though, as he showed when taking the British title from Marc Leach in June. This was another step forward in only his 13th professional fight.

He boxed to orders, never losing his shape and keeping his punches straight, while avoiding the Romanian’s big swings.

The decision was unanimous, by scores of 116-112, 118=110 and 117-111, which handed Davies the WBC international belt too.

“It’s amazing, another step up in my career,” Davies said. “I’m 13 fights in, I’ve won the English, the WBC (international), the British and European titles. I’ve conquered Britain, I’ve conquered Europe, now let’s go for the world. Why not?

“I felt comfortable all the way. I hurt my hand on his head, he has a very hard head and I had a blister that bloody hurts. But I got the job done. I done it in my own town, main event again. I just placed some more memorable nights coming to Telford. Look at all the people supporting me, money can’t buy that, memories for life.

“I was comfortable, too comfortable at times. I cruised through the fight again, I don’t think I have really been tested yet. I’m ready for another step up.”

Davies had a good start, working his jab well, while Baluta came forward swinging wildly at times.  In the second round, though, Baluta was starting to find his range, as he drew Davies into exchanges and rushed him. The home boxer finished the third well, though, as he countered Baluta well and forced him back to the ropes.

In the fourth round, Davies began to establish control – edging away, using a stiff jab and looking to follow it with a right, but not getting greedy as Baluta flew forward attempting to land.

A head clash early in the fifth round left Baluta with a cut around the right eye and, after a brief inspection by a ringside doctor, Baluta came flying after Davies, catching him with one decent right hand but leaving himself open to Davies’s counters.

Baluta kept swinging away in the sixth and seventh rounds, but he was starting to look tired, although he ended the seventh well as Davies was forced to hold.

In the eighth round, Baluta threw one punch so hard that, when it missed, it almost knocked him off his feet, but his non-stop aggression was having some success as Davies was looking more and more tentative with his jab as he backed away.

But Davies was back on the case in the ninth, as he boxed well on the backfoot.

The tenth was a messy round, with too much holding by both, but midway through the eleventh round Baluta landed a big left hook that again forced Davies to grab hold. Davies regained his composure well, though, and went into the last with a huge lead.

Baluta tried, he swung hard, but Davies mostly kept out of the way. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.