Smith, who is currently the number one contender to World Boxing Council ruler Badou Jack, had been hoping to fight before the end of the year and now gets his wish against his own mandatory in Luke Blackledge.
‘Mundo’ has been cutting a frustrated figure of late as world title holder Jack is tied up to a unification with Smith’s compatriot James DeGale and the 26 year-old doesn’t intend on sitting around doing nothing.
A win over Blackledge would put Smith one step closer to keeping the coveted UK strap before the Liverpool man then switches his attention to the winner of Jack v DeGale in the New Year.
Jack v DeGale is scheduled to happen January 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a fight Smith will almost certainly be ringside for in a bid to put out the feelers with Premier Boxing Champions supremo Al Haymon.
British fans are holding their breath for a possible all-British encounter in the summer of 2017 should DeGale overthrow Jack to claim a second world title, although for now, Smith must focus on remaining undefeated at domestic level.