By Elliot Foster
Stephen Smith will challenge for a world title in the New Year.
The Liverpool super featherweight is set to come up against José Pedraza for the IBF title after it was revealed that terms for the fight have been agreed.
Smith demolished Italy’s Devis Boschiero inside five rounds back in September at the Olympia in his home city in a final eliminator.
Promoter of the 30-year-old (23-1, 13 KOs), Eddie Hearn, confirmed that plans were underway for a third of the four fighting siblings to vie for the ultimate honour.
“Britain’s next world champion [is] on the way,” the Matchroom Boxing boss wrote on Twitter.
“Terms [have been] agreed for [Stephen Smith] to challenge [José] Pedraza for the IBF world title. Full details [are] coming soon.”
And Smith, whose sole defeat as a professional was a chilling knockout at the hands of current IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby in 2011, is ecstatic at the prospect of fighting for a world title.
He told BoxingScene: “I’m made up to be fighting for the world title. I know I won the eliminator in September, but I was told it was going to be December. It then got pushed back to late January or early February, but I’ve been told by Eddie [Hearn] that terms have been agreed and we’re going to sit down as a team and sort out the date and the venue.
“It’s not going to be in Puerto Rico and it won’t be in England, so I’ll have to travel and go to the States to win the title, which has always been a bit of a dream.”
Should the fight land in America, Smith will be on foreign soil for the first time, with all of his fights to date being in the UK.
“It won’t bother me, going to America and fighting the champion,” he said, “but I was willing to travel anyway.
“It’ll make the win a little bit sweeter if I can do it away from home, at the home of boxing, as many see it.
“I’ve got to thank my team, [trainer] Joe [Gallagher] and Eddie [Hearn] for getting me this shot at this time. I can only do my job and win the fights in the ring, but I’ve got the perfect team around me to guide me to great things.
“There are two dates that they have for us –– one in early February and one in early March –– and we’re just waiting for them to come back to us with all the details, but we should know more in the week."
Undefeated 26-year-old champion Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs), from Puerto Rico, retained his title on October 3 at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA with a split decision victory over Edner Cherry.
Elliot Foster is part of Boxing Scene's UK team. Follow him on Twitter: @FreelanceFoz