By Matt Bevan
Former world title challenger Stephen Smith is back in training ahead of his return to the ring, although he remains none the wiser as to when he is due to get back between the ropes.
Matchroom-promoted Smith (24-3 with 14 stoppages), who fell short in two tilts for world honours against Jose Pedraza and Jason Sosa in 2016, is hoping for news in the coming days and there remains a possibility of him fighting on May 27, as part of the undercard to Kell Brook’s IBF welterweight title defence against Errol Spence at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.
'Swifty’ confirmed that he will be staying at super-featherweight for the time being and is proud to be a part of one of the sport’s thriving divisions in 130lbs and focusing his attentions of capturing a world title at the third attempt.
Smith told ‘Scene: “I’m looking to get back in as soon as possible, preferably May [but] I don’t have a date yet. I’m in training alongside my brothers already. I heard I was on the bill in Liverpool on Saturday, but as far as I was aware I never was because nothing was ever finalised.
“It’ll be great if I can get on one of the stadium bills, which are unbelievable and have to be considered ‘big-time’ boxing. Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko [at Wembley Stadium on April 29] is massive, while everyone in the sport is talking about Kell Brook against Errol Spence Jr. in May.
“There have been a few things mentioned, but they’ve fallen through, so Eddie Hearn is keeping me in the loop, as he tries to get something sorted for me. I’m in the mix at 130 [pounds], which is one of the best weights in the sport, where the best take on the best regularly.
“At other weights, fighters find reasons not to face each other, just look at Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson or [Saul] ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Whereas at 130lbs you get Francisco Vargas, Takashi Miura and Orlando Salido going at it, while Vasyl Lomachenko takes on all-comers. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Smith also took the time to reflect on 2016, where he challenged for both the IBF and WBA titles on away soil in Mashantucket and Monaco respectively, losing both fights by unanimous decision, while at the same time displaying heart in abundance by rising from the canvas.
The 31-year-old still holds the WBC Silver title, but is refusing to rule out heading down a different route as he aims to secure a world title, admitting that he would jump at any opportunity that is thrown his way.
“2016 was both good and bad for me,” the former British and Commonwealth champion said. “I had the two shots at world titles and my performance in both did me no harm whatsoever. I’ve got no excuses, as I prepared for them diligently. I made mistakes, in particular in the Sosa fight, where I was chasing the fight, but I gave it all I had.
“Then I got to fight at Goodison Park, which was different but I really enjoyed it, with the added bonus that my close friend Tony Bellew secured his own world title. I haven't got a specific route to go down yet, although I still have the WBC Silver belt.
“I’m coming back off a loss, so I’m realistic and know I won’t get a huge fight straight away.
“I’ll keep working hard and I’m still in a good place, so if an opportunity comes my way, whether it’s with the WBC or the WBA for example, I’d jump at both.”