Trainer Joe Gallagher will be keeping a watchful eye on this weekend’s WBC super featherweight title clash between champion Takashi Miura and challenger Billy Dib as his fighter Stephen Smith is in line to face the victor.
Miura defends his green belt at Ota-City Gym in Tokyo, Japan against former IBF featherweight title holder Dib and Gallagher told WBN that he will be instantly lobbying for Smith to be pitched in as mandatory for the winner later in the year.
“Stephen is the WBC Silver champion and we are looking to him to be made mandatory for the winner of Takashi Miura and Billy Dib. We want him to fight whoever comes out on top in that fight,” Gallagher exclusively told World Boxing News in a phone call on Thursday.
“Miura is a good champion and Billy Dib is a good fighter and has been around for a long time, although I think he is in the last chance saloon. I think it will be a good competitive fight, but I think Miura will pull off the win.”
Gallagher is confident that if Miura does retain his championship on Friday, that the 30 year-old can be enticed to UK shores for a contest with Smith, 29, as the Japanese fighter did similar when defeating Sergio Thompson in his native Mexico last August.
“Even before this fight, Miura has said he is interested in coming to the UK to fight Stephen Smith. Stephen is the number two with the WBC and was due for a final eliminator until the number one went somewhere else.
“Stephen has had two quick fights and we want him to be made the mandatory for the winner of Friday’s fight. We are looking for Stephen to have that world title fight at the end of September or October time in Liverpool. He wouldn’t fight before then, we will just put him straight in.
“Eddie Hearn has done a great job getting his fighters world title opportunities like Kell Brook and Kevin Mitchell, plus putting together fights like Paul Smith v Andre Ward. Stephen is in a fantastically strong position to go and get that world title fight,” said Gallagher.
Smith, who is eagerly awaiting the outcome himself, added: “I am definitely ready for either now and with a bit of luck, I can look forward to fighting the winner.
“I think a lot of the fight depends on Dib and if he is any stronger at the higher weight because I think you know what you’re going to get from Miura as he’s fit and strong and will be confident being at home after his last few wins.
“I do think Miura is the favourite and Dib would have to adapted to super-featherweight to keep him off. Saying that, Miura might stop him late., then I hope he sticks to his word and fights me as number one contender.”