By Phil D. Jay
British and Commonwealth featherweight champion Stephen Smith (12-0, 6 KO’s) is in line for a European title shot in the next six months, but is likely to seek out a domestic opponent for his next fight as he harbours hopes of making the Lonsdale Belt he claimed from John Simpson in his last contest, his own.
The 25 year-old has produced two performances beyond his years to gain the titles he now possesses against Scotland’s Simpson and is set to make his first defence of the domestic title in the coming months. The Liverpudlian stated to World Boxing News that he is hoping to make the three defences needed to seal a British title belt outright, before moving on to European level.
“I think I'm rated number one in Europe now,” Smith told WBN.
“If the European Title fight comes about then I probably would take it, but 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.”
Although sick of the sight of each other, making three defences of his domestic belt could put him in line to meet John Simpson for a third time if the Greenock figher can make himself mandatory challenger once again. Simpson, 27, may only have to produce one good display against a high-ranked British fighter and we could have Smith v Simpson III before the end of the year.
“Swifty” would have plenty of time to get his first defence of the title in, but that won’t be coming on the Ricky Burns’ WBO 130lb title defence at the Echo Arena on July 16th as the double champion has a family event to attend on the same night. After his two wars with John Simpson though, Smith isn’t putting any undue pressure of himself to rise up the world rankings and will move up the levels at his own pace.
“I haven't really put a timescale on when I will step up. As long as I keep winning, I'm happy.
“Joe (Gallagher), Frank (Warren) and Dean (Powell) will let me know when I'm ready,” added Smith.
Phil D. Jay covers the boxing scene for worldboxingnews.net