On the back of Jose Pedraza successfully defending his IBF super featherweight title against Edner Cherry on Saturday night, mandatory challenger Stephen Smith is now waiting in the wings for his opportunity.
As Smith won an eliminator last month when stopping Devis Boschiero in his hometown of Liverpool, the 30 year-old is the next in line to Pedraza when the Puerto Rican eventually returns to action following a well-earned break.
Speaking to WBN recently, Smith is hoping to find out some definitive news on his first world title shot before deciding on whether to prolong his obvious momentum with another contest in the coming weeks.
‘Swifty’ could find himself waiting until at least February for his impending opportunity, and Smith says if that is the case, then he will consider being part of one of promoter Eddie Hearn’s upcoming cards before Christmas.
“If it’s not going to be until next year, then I might fight again this year,” Smith told World Boxing News.
“If I fight soon, ideally I want to go straight into a world title fight on the back of my win against Boschiero and the confidence I’ve got from that. I’m in a good place at the minute and in good form. I was feeling good in the gym beforehand and you know when things go right. I knew I was in good shape for that fight and I think it showed.
“If it’s not until January, February or if they start talking March, I’m not sitting around until then and I’d like to fight as I want to stay in shape. I wouldn’t mind where and when, I’d just like to get out as soon as.”
Asked whether he would accept an opportunity to fight for an alternative version of the 126lb crown should an offer comes his way before the Pedraza clash, Smith replied: “The IBF is always going to be my first choice because it’s there now and I just fought a final eliminator. But if someone turned around and said; ‘Takashi Muira against Vargas has fell through, would you fight Muira?’ – I’d jump at it, but I wouldn’t put myself out for it.
“If they said now I could take it November 21st I’d say ‘yeah definitely’ as its plenty of time, but like I said I wouldn’t put myself out for it and would want a full camp.
“The IBF are the ones making moves though now that the final eliminator is out of the way, and after me thinking the WBC was done before then they gave the fight to Billy Dib instead, It’s just how the route has turned out.
“I’ve also been the mandatory for the European as well for the last few years and the IBF ordered an eliminator between us first, so I thought I could get the European title as well. Romain Jacob knocked it back and Boschiero took the fight, so he we are and we’ve just got to see what happens now,” added Smith.
The IBF have already put the wheels in motion on the Pedraza v Smith contest, so its now up to both sides to reach an agreement for the expected US bout in the coming weeks.