By Terence Dooley
British Super featherweight titlist Stephen Smith signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom earlier today, just a week after revealing that he had decided to part company with W. Promotions Limited and despite Frank Warren issuing a stern statement last Friday warning Smith that he would fight to make him honour their existing boxer-manager agreement.
Smith issued a statement through Wragge & Co. LLP last Thursday announcing his intention to move on to pastures new and has signed a three-fight deal with Hearn. The Liverpudlian will make his Matchroom debut in a British title defence against Gary Sykes on the undercard of Carl Froch Vs George Groves at Manchester Phones 4U Arena on November 23.
Warren, though, responded to Smith's claims last Friday, stating: 'Frank Warren has received a letter in which Stephen Smith says that he wishes to terminate his Approved Boxer/Management Agreement. This letter was sent nearly seven weeks following his successful challenge for the British title in August and after it was announced he was to be part of an historic show where all three of the Smith brothers would defend their British Championships on the same night.
‘However, the letter does not disclose grounds to validly terminate the agreement and so Stephen Smith remains under contract to Frank Warren. Any party seeking his services must contact Mr. Warren in the first instance to comply with the rules of the BBBofC.
‘Mr. Warren will defend his rights as both the Manager and Promoter of Stephen Smith and a complaint has already been lodged at the British Boxing Board of Control and a letter sent to his solicitors. Other parties, who we are aware have induced Mr. Smith to breach his contract and in doing so have tortuously interfered with Mr Warren’s rights, will also be the subject of action through the BBBofC and the Courts.'
Smith, 17-1 (10), will be desperate to get on with defending the British crown he won via a stunning KO of Gary Buckland as the 28-year-old seeks to continue the fine form that has seen him regroup from a shocking eighth-round KO loss to Lee Selby in September 2011, which saw Smith lose his British and Commonwealth featherweight belts. With Selby also on Matchroom’s books, and Hearn determined to make don’t bet against a grudge rematch at some point in the near future.
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