EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Smith outlines plans ahead of return from injury
Having fought for the world super-featherweight title twice during his successful career, Briton Stephen Smith is readying himself for a 32nd pro outing.
The 34 year-old, who holds a record of 27-4 with 15 KO’s, has been nursing a slight injury following a return to action in the spring.
It’s a small setback for ‘Swifty’, who plans to be out again before the New Year.
Smith took over a year out after losing to Fernando Vargas in Las Vegas. During the bout, the Liverpool suffered a horror ear injury, which he’s now fully recovered from.
With the lightweight division currently bursting with talent in the UK, Smith will be a solid addition.
The likes of Luke Campbell, Lee Selby, Joe Cordina and stablemate Anthony Crolla currently campaign at 135. All bar the soon-to-be-retiring Crolla are in the hunt for titles.
A run at the European lightweight championship, which would add to his British title at 126 pounds, is a highly viable target for Smith.
“I’m going to give it one last go. Hopefully I’ll get out before the end of the year. We’ll see what comes from it,” Smith exclusively told World Boxing News.
Asked about any further world title ambitions on the back of two decision defeats, Smith wasn’t looking too far ahead.
“I’m not really putting that out yet,” said Smith. “I just want to get out in the ring first and foremost. Just same as last time.
“I got back, got a couple of wins under my belt and then had a bit of time out with an arm injury. But it’s just one them things.
“I’m going to get back in and just see what opportunities there are. I’m not going start calling any world champions out when I’ve been so inactive.
“Once I get winning, see if I can get shot at the European. If I can get the European title then that sort of puts you back in contention for world title honors.
“But at the moment it’s one step at a time. I want to aim towards the European title and see where I can go from there.”
Of the above list mentioned, Selby is the man who inflicted the only stoppage loss on Smith’s C.V.
A shocking eighth-round knockout on home soil at the Liverpool Olympia could also be something Smith contemplates avenging.
Selby faces Ricky Burns next month in London. Should Smith be able to secure the EBU strap in the first half of 2020, who knows if a lucrative revenge rematch could conceivably be on the cards.
With brother Callum also eyeing an Anfield homecoming next year, Smith will be a certainty for the undercard.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay (article transcribed by Assistant Editor).