Liverpool’s Stephen Smith has confirmed to WBN that negotiations have begun for his world super featherweight title shot at IBF champion Jose Pedraza.
The 30 year-old – one of four boxing brothers from the city – stopped Italy’s Devis Boschiero in September to move his record to 23-1 (13 KO) and ensure his mandatory number one spot for the IBF belt.
‘Swifty’ – whose sole career loss came to the current IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby – had hoped his opportunity might come before the end of 2015, but Is glad to finally have the chance to prove himself on the world stage early next year.
“The IBF have called for the fight and negotiations are well underway. I stayed in the gym after my last fight and was hoping it might be possible before Christmas, but it wasn’t to be,” Smith told World Boxing News.
“My next fight will definitely be a world title fight, so I’m in a good place. Pedraza is a good champion, a good fighter and it won’t be an easy task, but I’m confident I will become world champion.”
Peurto Rico’s Undefeated champion Pedraza, 26 years of age, made the first successful defence of his belt on October 3 with a split-decision victory over Edner Cherry.
“I will have to travel for the fight and I’ve got that firmly in my head – I don’t mind. It will be a good opportunity for me to go and make a name for myself in America and very few English fighters can do that, it can only help me build my profile,” Smith added.
“The division is very strong at the minute, with a lot of good fighters at world level. A few years back it was a bit weaker, was just Mikey Garcia and not much else. But now the likes of Miura, Uchiyama, Fortuna, Salido, Gonzalez and Pedraza are all there and no world title will be easy to win.”
Matt Horan is a staff writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123