By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
STEPHEN SMITH wants to carry on fighting at domestic level in order to fulfil a dream – winning a Lonsdale Belt outright.
The fast-hitting featherweight makes the first defence of his British title when he meets Lee Selby in his native Liverpool on Saturday, September 17.
If he wins and makes a successful second defence, the Lonsdale Belt he picked up when he won the title will be his for keeps.
He would become the first Scouser to achieve that feat since Gary Thornhill more than a decade ago.
The 26-year-old said: “I don’t want to move on from domestic level until I win the Lonsdale Belt outright.
“Having had it at home makes it a belt I definitely want to keep.”
Smith, one of Britain’s rising stars, will also put his Commonwealth belt on the line against Selby at the Liverpool Olympia.
Smith won the title from John Simpson in their rematch in April and knows Selby will be a tough opponent.
Welshman Selby, who won the Celtic title last month with a sixth round stoppage of Scotsman James Ancliff, said:
“I was really impressed with that win.
“Although it will be a tough first defence he is stepping up to a new league against me and he’ll know it on the night.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring as British and Commonwealth champion and defend my titles.
“I’ve got so many ambitions in my career – one is to win the Lonsdale Belt outright.
“I also want the European title to complete the set and I want the ultimate which is a world title.”
Stephen’s older brother Paul, the former British super-middleweight champion, continues his comeback on the card in an eight-rounder against Bristol’s Danny Butler.