Bloodied but unbowed, the two Liams will do it all again.

And there was sufficient intrigue surrounding their first showdown at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night to make any rematch just as compelling.

For one half of a splendid Battle of Britain, Welshman Liam Williams had been sharper, more precise and more aggressive with his punching.

But Liam Smith had been hampered by a gruesome cut over his right eye from as early as the third round, an injury he was clearly trying to protect.

Then at the end of the ninth round Williams suffered an even more appalling gash to his right eyelid.

His cornerman, Gary Lockett, correctly pulled his man out. But just prior to the stoppage Smith had enjoyed a brief, but pivotal period of dominance, Williams had reeled from a right-hand and Smith鈥檚 later assertion that he was about to stop his rival looked valid.

Three rounds remained, Smith has travelled the Championship distance, Williams hasn鈥檛.

There were enough whys and wherefores to render any rematch just as appetising, just as appealing ?and the outcome just as uncertain.

But when their respective wounds heal and the pair do trade again, Liam Smith simply has to make a faster start.

Liam Smith (left) takes on Liam Williams

Renowned for feeling his way into a fight, Williams鈥?faster tempo allowed him to build a lead which placed the Scouser under pressure ?even before that third round drama.

Both fighters stepped back from an exchange in the centre of the ring, Smith dabbing anxiously at blood seeping from his right brow.

A right hand clearly inflicted the damage - and Smith鈥檚 ability to continue was testament to his own warrior spirit and outstanding work from the cornermen with the swabs and the adrenaline solution.

There was a fearful moment at the end of the seventh round when the ringside doctor was called by referee Terry O鈥機onnor to examine the damage.

He spent what felt like an eternity weighing up the injury, then allowed Smith to continue.

Whether that imbued the Scouser with a renewed sense of urgency, he started to finally enjoy his best moments of the fight as Williams tired.

He rocked Williams several times and sent him staggering into the ropes at the bell.

Just seconds earlier the cut which ended the contest had opened on Williams eyelid.

A clash of heads clearly worsened the wound, but there was evidence that Smith鈥檚 punching had already caused the injury.

More intrigue. More drama.

Liam Smith (right) exchanges blows with Liam Williams during their WBO Interim World Super-Welterweight fight at Manchester Arena

If a cut is caused by a clash of heads WBO rules state that the decision should go to the judges鈥?scorecards after four rounds ?and Williams was a round ahead on all three cards.

But Lockett would have been reckless to have even considered such a course of action and send his man out for one more round. His fighter was effectively blind in one eye - and the respected Lockett is not a reckless cornerman.

Smith was convinced how the injury occurred.

He tweeted on Sunday: 鈥淭he cut was open before the head clash, regardless, he chose to stop the fight, we was both cut, simple.

鈥淎nyway, after a slow start I done what I said I would do. Thanks to my team.

Liam Smith walks out before his fight against Liam Williams

鈥淗e was falling apart and openly admitted he gassed and was tired. No chance he was surviving 3 rounds at that level when you鈥檙e on empty.?/p>

Lockett added: 鈥淭he eye was damaged, it was a decision that had to be made.

鈥淗e said he couldn鈥檛 see. I can鈥檛 let him fight with that. It was only going to get worse. He couldn鈥檛 see out of it.?/p>

It later emerged that Williams had suffered a double laceration to his right eyelid and was immediately sent to see a plastic surgeon.

Promoter Frank Warren, who had earlier claimed he would have bought a ticket for the contest if he hadn鈥檛 been promoting it, added: 鈥淚t鈥檚 a shame the winner is not coming away with a title. We鈥檒l try and do it again ?this time for a title.?/p>

Liam Williams after defeat to Liam Smith

Both fighters conducted themselves impeccably in the post-fight interviews.

Sadly the same could not be said for some of the fans inside the Arena.

Fierce brawls broke out between both sets of supporters which took the overworked stewards several minutes to quell.

That reaction insulted the spirit and dignity of both fighters ?qualities we will almost certainly see again.