By Shaun Brown
The story of the four fighting Smith brothers from Liverpool is one that seems to gain momentum and greater attention with each passing month. Last year, the British boxing media were rightly raving about the feats achieved by Paul, Stephen and Liam all becoming British champions at the same time as one another at super middleweight, super featherweight and light middleweight respectively. The first time that one household has held three British titles at once. And with the youngest of the bunch, Callum, being the prospect on everyone’s lips what odds that all four become world champions before their careers are over?
“It’s not such a daunting prospect now,” Stephen 18-1 (11) told BoxingScene ahead of his fight tonight in Leeds, live on Sky Sports, against late replacement Mauricio Javier Munoz 28-4 (13) in a world title eliminator as well as for the vacant WBC Silver title at 130lbs. (Munoz replaced David Saucedo who withdrew due to injury.)
“If we all had started boxing and said that, then people would’ve just laughed and said we were living in dreamland. You ask any family what the chances of all their kids becoming the best in the world at their sport and you’d laugh. People were talking last year what odds on three of us winning British titles. This year with Paul close to the [Arthur] Abraham fight and me within touching distance too it becomes a more realistic aim for us. We fully believe we can do it. You’ve then got the better two coming through. Everyone’s raving about Callum, people say he’s the best of the bunch. You ask people who’s seen us and been in the gym with us and a lot of people do rate Liam as the best. He’s technically very good, he does things naturally and technically right. It’s the way he throws his shots too and now he can pace a fight great now. If me and Paul do it then they can too.”
Lying in wait at the end of the WBC rainbow for Stephen, 28, would be a fight against reigning champion Takashi Miura 27-2-2 (20). A 30 year old southpaw who won the title in his native Japan against Gamaliel Diaz last April with a ninth round stoppage after putting his opponent on the deck four times. Smith, rated ten by the WBC, has already said he is willing to go to the champion’s home to fight him and knows what kind of challenge would lie in wait for him. The Liverpudlian also admitted that he’s allowed himself the odd moment to think about becoming world champion.
“You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t thinking that a little bit especially with me getting so close,” said Smith.
“It’ll all be for nothing if I don’t win this one and then I’d be back to square one. I do know I’m getting nearer the point where I might be next in line or within touching distance. I seen what a Silver Championship done for Tony Bellew and before too long he was fighting [Adonis] Stevenson in Canada. If winning this belt puts me on the doorstep and even going over to fight in Japan then I’ll bite your hand off.
“Miura’s a good boxer, a good southpaw and he’s not world champion by accident. I don’t think anyone would expect an easy fight for the WBC title. It’s the best title in boxing and from a kid I’d always dreamed of getting one and to be this close is unbelievable. It would be a very tough night’s work but that’s what you’ve got to do at this level.”
Please send news and views to firstname.lastname@example.org or @shaun_brown on Twitter.
Tags: Stephen Smith