Exclusive: Andrade eyes Smith v Thompson winner ahead of return

After successfully defending his WBO world title back in June of 2014 – in a knockout victory over Brian Rose – the light middleweight has since been inactive and was eventually stripped of his belt earlier this year.

Continuous promotional problems and issues with the WBO have somewhat halted his career, but now the unbeaten Andrade (21-0, 14 KO) is ready to return to the ring – the place he feels most at home.

The 27 year-old will fight Argentina’s Dario Pucheta (20-2) in Connecticut on October 17, as he looks to kick-start his career again.

Andrade said: “I’m really glad to be back in the ring again. It’s been a long time since I stopped Rose ad it’s been a difficult time. I’ve stayed in the gym and have kept myself in great condition, so it’s now a matter of getting back to the top.”

“The fight with Pucheta will be a good test and I never take any opponent for granted. He’s never been stopped and has a decent record, so I’m not taking the fight lightly – It will be a good challenge to get me back in the swing of things.

“I can’t really tell you why I haven’t fought for so long. I was kept in the dark for a lot of the time and the fights just weren’t coming off. It was upsetting to get stripped of the WBO belt and I felt it was unjust– but there isn’t much I can do about it now. My fans have stuck by me and I feel blessed to have such great support,” he added.

While fights against the likes of Anthony Mundine and Jermell Charlo have fallen through for the southpaw, Andrade has had to watch as other fighters have taken the limelight in the 154lb division.

“There are some great boxers in the division at the minute, so the fights are there. You’ve got Canelo, Cotto, Lara and now Charlo (Jermall), who just won the IBF title. These guys have the belts and that makes them the best in the division,” Andrade said.

“If I want to be best, I have to beat these elite guys and I can’t say anything until I do. Eventually though, I would love to unify the division.”

Andrade’s former WBO world title will now be disputed between Liverpool’s Liam Smith and John Thompson, and ‘Boo Boo’ would be happy to become a two-time winner of the belt and become a dominant force at light middleweight.

He said: “It should be a good, competitive fight between the two of them and I wish them both the best of luck. If the opportunity arose for me to fight the winner, of course I would take it – but I want to keep my options open for now.”

“My focus now is to become the best 154lb fighter on the planet and I’m not looking to move weight anytime soon – I’m comfortable and happy at light middleweight. Obviously, if the time comes one day to make the move and the likes of Golovkin come calling, I’m ready to do so.”

Matt Horan is a staff writer for WBN. Follow Matt on Twitter @Mhoran123