EXCLUSIVE: Joe Gallagher discusses Stephen Smith’s imminent return, quest for one last title run
Stephen Smith wants one more go at a world title in a quest likened to fellow Brit Martin Murray by trainer Joe Gallagher.
In an exclusive interview with WBN, Joe Gallagher gave an update on Smith following his Las Vegas loss in December, which came at the price of a ripped ear following a clash of heads with ex-world champion Francisco Vargas.
“He’s had time for his ear to heal and spent some good family time with his boys playing football. He’s coming back now for the new season and he’s looking to have one more go at that elusive world title,” Gallagher exclusively told World Boxing News.
“To win a world title at Super Featherweight, Smith will have to share the ring with any one of the big talents currently holding the belts.
“It’s such a hard division, it’s just in an era where the division is red hot with the likes of Lomachenko and the Mexicans over there Salido, and that.
“It’s a very hard division, when you look at it, it’s unfortunate but we’ve got to come back and see what opportunities present themselves and give it one last go.”
Gallagher remained hopeful that Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn can offer the best route.
“We’ll see what happens, see what Eddie Hearn can deliver for him. There are no names in the mix we’re not talking about anybody at the moment.”
On the possibility of Smith dropping down a level first, Gallagher added: “Obviously everyone knows Martin Ward lost the (Commonwealth, European) belts to Tennyson but Stephen has done all that, he did the British scene ages ago.
“I think Stephen wants that world title eliminator and another world title fight again. It’s a bit like Martin Murray as he can’t get motivated (for that kind of challenge).
“No disrespect to the lower level but you want the big fights if you’ve been in the game long enough.”
Brother Liam Smith challenges to become a two-time world champion this weekend and is inspiration and motivation for Stephen to go and win that world title.
“Obviously his brother Liam is creating history by being the first Scouser to headline Las Vegas for a world title fight,” pointed out the respected coach.
“Now he has a great chance to create more history by becoming a two-time world champion from Liverpool and obviously Liam was the first scouser to win a world title in 23 years when Paul Hodkinson was the last one to win it.
“I think Liam and Callum – they are giving Stephen that little bit of chase to still operate at world level and that’s what he wants to do,” concluded Gallagher.
Chandler Waller is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerWaller