Liam Smith rules out UK match-up, eyes Jermall Charlo unification
WBO world champion Liam Smith is chasing a unification bout with fellow light middleweight Jermall Charlo and feels any domestic fight right now would be a step back in his career.
Liverpool’s Smith (21-0-1, 11KO) dispatched of John Thompson inside seven rounds to take the vacant belt earlier this month and hopes that victory has put him in line for some potentially huge encounters within the division.
Charlo (22-0, 17KO) himself – whose twin brother Jermell similarly competes in the 154lb division – also recently got his hands on a world title as he won the IBF version by swiftly stopping 42 year-old Cornelius Bundrage in the third round. Liverpool’s Smith now thinks a fight between the pair would make for a great contest.
“The Charlo fight is the one I’m really looking towards, the styles would match and it would be a great clash,” Smith told World Boxing News.
“I’m not being big headed, but I’m not in too many bad fights anyway. He’s got the IBF belt so it would be a unification fight and another great opportunity for me to develop and show my worth.
“There are some big names in the division. Lara is very skilful and – if we take Canelo out of the occasion, as the Cotto fight’s at middleweight – Lara and Andrade may be the best in the division.”
‘Beefy’ is now very much focused on moving towards the likes of Lara and Charlo, and feels ready to leave the domestic scene behind.
“To be honest, I don’t see anyone else in the UK as a threat. I’ve seen a couple of names mentioned to me – the likes of Jimmy Kelly, Liam Williams and Gary Corcoran – but they’re all still coming up and picking up what I’ve left behind. They should all be chasing the British title, which I won over two years ago now – Its all about stepping stones,” he said.
“I’ve served my apprenticeship and a couple of them are trying to rush their way, just because the world title is in Britain. I feel I’m well ahead of the rest at the moment, Brian Rose was the only one in front of me and I chased that fight, but it never happened.”
Matt Horan is a staff writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123