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Pedraza-Smith Second Purse Bid Called After Date Debacle

By Elliot Foster

Stephen Smith is getting fed up of the lack of news about his world title fight.

The Liverpool super featherweight has been training for a shot at the IBF title since October last year but has yet to receive a definitive date for his showdown with José Pedraza.

That could change for the better in the coming weeks. Eddie Hearn, Smith's promoter has revealed that purse bids have been called for the fight a second time after “they [Lou DiBella and Pedraza’s team] couldn’t [or] haven’t confirmed [a] date.”

And Smith welcomes that news, saying: “I was number two in the WBC as well as the IBF, but I chose the IBF final eliminator because they’re strict on their mandatories and I thought it would be more straightforward.

“If it was any other fight than the world title fight, I’d have told them to shove it up their arse by now because of all the messing, but because it’s the big fight, the one I’ve trained for for all my career, I’m swallowing it and sitting around, waiting.”

Smith (23-1, 13 KOs) won a final eliminator against Italy’s Devis Boschiero last September in his home city and was told by Hearn that he can “go to bed knowing that his next fight is for the world title.”

That may have been correct, but ‘Swifty’, 30, is becoming increasingly impatient about not knowing when he’ll step into the ring with the champion in a bid to lift that world title.

“It’s doing my head in now,” he told Boxing Scene. “We’ve been in camp since before Christmas, thinking that it would be squeezed in before, then we thought it would be January and now we’re talking about April.

“It’s really frustrating.”

Smith’s fight with Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs) had been set for New York City on March 26, but that date was then moved, with Hearn saying that they would know of a rescheduled date “in the next 48 hours” at the end of January –– and still there is no news.

A deal was done between Lou DiBella and co. and Matchroom Sport before the first purse bid that the champion’s camp could promote the fight as long as it was in a neutral location.

The ordering of a second purse bid gives the fight a reset, presenting a plausible scenario where Matchroom wins the session and is able to bring the fight to the UK. 

“[N]ow, hopefully we can win the purse bid,” Smith noted, “and get the fight on over here. I’ve been told to train for April, either April 9 or 16, and that’s what they’re looking at, but something, somewhere is going on that’s stopping the fight from being made.

“Either way, I just want to fight for the world title as soon as possible.”

Elliot Foster is part of the BoxingScene.com UK news team. Twitter: @FreelanceFoz

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Corelone on 02-23-2016

Stephen Smith should get an Oscar for his acting. He knows all the delay is about getting the fight in the UK. He could fight Pedraza in Puerto Rico yesterday, but that's not happening. Pedraza may not be the face…

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