Stephen Smith is aiming to keep the Smith family bandwagon rolling in style tomorrow night as he faces former World title challenger Mauricio Javier Munoz for the WBC World Silver Super Featherweight title and crunch eliminator clash at the First Direct Arena in Leeds live on Sky Sports
The Smith brothers are on fire with youngest Callum scoring another sensational stoppage win at the weekend to defend his WBC International Super Middleweight title against Tobias Webb in Cardiff while on the same bill the eldest Smith, Callum’s fellow Super Middleweight Paul, landed a stoppage win as he looks to secure a World title shot against WBO champion Arthur Abraham.
With British Light Middleweight champion Liam closing in on the outright ownership of the belt, there seems no stopping the rise of the Smith brothers, and Stephen is keen to keep the run going in Leeds as he closes in on a World title shot of his own.
“The success we’re having as a family is unheard of and it’s getting recognised more and more,” said Smith. “In Liverpool you are seeing more kids want to get into boxing and looking up to us as role models and that’s nice to have, someone that people look up to and they want to achieve what you have done and follow in your footsteps.
“Success breeds success and that’s what is happening in Liverpool, we’re all doing well and feeding off each other’s success, and it’s only going to get better.
“The talent coming through in Liverpool is huge and if we all achieve our potential and get those World titles then the opportunity for stadium fights in Liverpool would be amazing. The atmosphere around the build up to Froch vs. Groves has been huge and just to be there on fight night will be unbelievable, it’s breaking records and it makes you dream about doing something like that in Liverpool in the summer of next year.
“It’s not so much who is first to get to the World title as we all want to get there and Paul and I are getting close now. Paul won a National title in the amateurs and I followed him then Liam followed me, so it’s pressure on Callum really as he had to become National champion because we all did – and he did several times.
“It’s going to be the same now, he’s blitzing everyone and breaking records but he’s got three older brothers that all hold British titles at the same time so there’s always pressure on him but he’s holding his own and treading his own path, he’s doing brilliantly and it doesn’t matter what his brothers are doing, if we didn’t exist people would still be talking about him because he is that good, but it’s nice that we are all enjoying success as a family, we’re all proud of each other and long may it continue.
“We all try to outdo each other in the gym and on the runs, but it’s a friendly rivalry and we’re just trying to drive each other on – and we’re more nervous on each other’s fight nights than on our own.”
Smith’s clash with Munoz is part of an exciting night of action in Leeds as local star Josh Warrington puts his Commonwealth Featherweight title on the line against Martin Lindsay, with the vacant British strap also up for grabs.
Kal Yafai fights for his first pro title as he meets Yaqub Kareem for the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight crown while his younger brother Gamal Yafai makes his pro debut and Gavin McDonnell defends his British Super Bantamweight title against Josh Wale in a Yorkshire derby.
Hull’s Lightweight star Tommy Coyle, newly crowned English Light Welterweight champion Tyrone Nurse, Brentwood’s Super Featherweight Martin J. Ward and Middlesbrough Cruiserweight Simon Vallily are all in action.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £30, £40 and £60 available from the First Direct Arena on 0844 248 1585 and at firstdirectarena.com.
VIP tickets priced at £120 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at matchroomboxing.com
Proposed running order (subject to change) and weights (where available)
4 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest
REECE CARTWRIGHT v EDGARS SNIEDZE
6 x 3 mins Light Welterweight Contest
TYRONE NURSE (10st 3lbs) v DANNY LITTLE (10st 4lbs 4oz)
4 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
SIMON VALLILY (14st 4lbs) v MOSES MATUVO (14st 1lb 13oz)
8 x 3 mins Lightweight Contest
TOMMY COYLE (9st 13lbs) v MICHAEL ANSAH (9st 9lbs 4oz)
6 x 3 mins Super Featherweight Contest
MARTIN J WARD (9st 6lbs 13oz) v REYNALDO DE CAJINA (9st 1lb 8oz)
4 x 3 mins Super Bantamweight Contest
GAMAL YAFAI (8st 13lbs) v RICKY LEACH (8st 9lbs)
12 x 3 mins Vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Championship
KAL YAFAI (8st 2lbs 11oz) v YAQUB KAREEM (8st 2lbs 10oz)
12 x 3 mins British Super Bantamweight Championship
GAVIN McDONNELL (8st 9lbs) v JOSH WALE (8st 9lbs)
12 x 3 mins Vacant WBC World Silver Super Featherweight Championship
STEPHEN SMITH (9st 3lbs 12oz) v MAURICIO MUNOZ (9st 4lbs – second attempt)
12 x 3 mins Vacant British and Commonwealth Featherweight Champ
JOSH WARRINGTON (8st 12lbs 12oz) v MARTIN LINDSAY