Liam Smith has his chance to reclaim the WBO world light-middleweight title when he faces champion Jaime Munguia at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Casino on July 21.
‘Beefy’ (26-1-1-KO14) will fight in the capital of U.S boxing for the first time in his career against unbeaten Mexican Munguia, who boasts a stunning record of 25 knockouts in 29 bouts.
Smith said: “To go to Vegas and fight for a world title is every fighter’s dream but it’s only an extra incentive to my main motivation – getting that WBO world light-middleweight title back around my waist.
“Munguia is obviously a dangerous puncher and I’ll have to be wary of him early on but he’s never fought someone as good as me and a fully-fledged 154lb fighter.
“I’ve been on record admitting I expected Sadam Ali to edge Munguia but I wasn’t at all surprised it ended as it did because Ali isn’t a proper light-middleweight. I am, and Munguia will find that out on the night.
“Once I get that world title back in my hands, the world is my oyster and the big names will be knocking at my door. Besides unification offers, I’m sure I’ll have the likes of Amir Khan and Kell Brook wanting a shot.
“I can’t afford to look an inch past Munguia though. He’s world champion for a reason and with such a high knockout percentage, I’m going to have to be my best ever. Unfortunately for Munguia, that’s what I’ll be.”
Smith had been due to take on Ali for the belt earlier in the year only to suffer an illness – but insists that frustrating experience has furnished him with even greater determination.
Smith, who will be the first Liverpudlian to fight for a world title in Vegas, added: “We still haven’t found out where the illness came from. It was an allergic reaction to something but there haven’t been any clues from reviewing my diet.
“I actually got over the allergic reaction quickly but when you’re talking about fighting for world titles at the top of the sport, you can’t go into the ring at anything less than your best.
“Now I’m strong, fit and ready to go over there, take that belt off Munguia and bring it back to Liverpool where it belongs.”