Ahead of his WBA super-featherweight title test on Saturday, Stephen Smith sees the current situation at 130 pounds like a semi-final tournament to becoming a full world champion.
Due to the World Boxing Association’s need to crown ‘super’ and ‘regular’ title holders, Smith believes victory over Jason Sosa is only half the job and eventually wants to claim the top version in 2017.
Jezreel Corrales is currently recognised as the universal ruler due to his win over long-standing champion TakashI Uchiyama last April in Tokyo, but will need to repeat the feat in a contracted return on December 31 at the same venue to cement his place.
Smith has his own hands full with ‘regular’ belt holder Sosa in Monaco as the Liverpool man bids to claim the world championship at the second attempt on a huge Matchroom Boxing event.
A win for ‘Swifty’ puts him right in the mix at the highest level, although Smith is aware a triumph over Corrales or Uchiyama needs to take place at some point in order for the 31 year-old to fully be seen as the number one.
“Either way, a win over Sosa is a good opportunity for me to get towards where I want to be,” Smith exclusively told World Boxing News.
“As I have said before, I’m not a fan of having two belts in one division with one organisation, but it’s down to myself to clear it up.
“I don’t agree with it but I can’t knock the fight back because of it. I have to take it, win the belt to become WBA champion and then I’ll have a bit more draw about myself then.”
Asked for his thoughts on the Corrales v Uchiyama rematch itself, Smith added: “I think it’s a big ask for Uchiyama to come back second time around because it wasn’t as if it was a one shot and caught type of win for Corrales. Uchiyama was destroyed as Corrales walked through him,” he pointed out.
“It will be interesting to see how he comes back from it as he’s a good fighter – Uchiyama, and he’s been around for a long time. We’ll be able to see what he has left, what type of performance he can put in and whether he can come back from that.
“It will definitely be a fight I’ll be watching because I’ve made it clear I’d love to fight the winner as I want to clear this WBA thing up.
“It will become better for me and I can make a better living before trying to face the winner of Corrales v Uchiyama. If Corrales wins, it also gives me a better chance of getting him over to the UK to sort out the number one,” said Smith.