By Terence Dooley
It was a tale of two pressers earlier today as Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn hosted a double press conference in Liverpool to announce two shows at the city's Echo Arena.
First up, the promoter revealed that Liverpool’s Stephen Smith (22-1, 12 KOs) will fight Italy’s Devis Boschiero (37-3-1, 19 early) in a final eliminator for the IBF Super featherweight belt on September 19. The Smith-Boschiero card will also feature Scotty Cardle’s (18-0, 5 stoppages) British lightweight title defence against former British Super featherweight titlist Gary Buckland (30-6, 10 KOs).
“Boschiero is a huge fight for Stephen in a Final Eliminator for the IBF title,” stated Hearn when confirming the fight.
“I am delighted this is finally happening now, I’ll grab this with both hands,” added Smith. “He’s a strong lad and we’ve worked on things already that will allow me to get certain shots off.”
“It’s a big opportunity fighting abroad in this fight,” stated the 34-year-old Italian, who once held the EBU title and unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC belt (L SD to Takahiro Ao in Tokyo in 2011). “Smith is a good technical fighter, but I will beat him.”
Cardle makes the first defence of the belt he won by out-pointing Craig Evans in May; the 25-year-old knows that Buckland, 29, will put pressure on him and vowed to rise to the occasion.
He said: “I’m delighted to be facing Buckland. I’ve been training for the past six weeks and I’m looking forward to being back in Liverpool. Buckland will bring everything he’s got—I’m expecting a tough, tough night against him.”
Joe Gallagher trains both Smith, 30, and Cardle; he believes that they will be at their best come fight night. “Buckland is well drilled and will be tough,” he said. “Stephen will have the fear factor in this fight—he needs that.”
Hearn then moved on to the fight between Liverpool’s Callum Smith (17-0, 12 early) and Rocky Fielding (21-0, 12 KOs) for the vacant British Super middleweight title, saying: “I’m absolutely buzzing for this fight, it has everything. I believe that the winner will go on to a shot at the world title. This will be a very special night in Liverpool.”
Oliver Harrison has worked wonders with Fielding, rounding off his rough edges in the gym and providing a calming presence on fight night. The Salford-based trainer is certain that the 28-year-old contender will emerge with his ‘0’ intact. “Rocky will be in the best shape of his life for this fight—I'm confident we will win the fight,” was his pre-fight prediction.
“This fight will divide the city,” was Gallagher’s take on his man’s latest test. “Callum wants the British title and to join his brothers by winning it. This fight wouldn't be as big if it wasn't in Liverpool. Everyone knows who the winner will be. Callum is a better fighter.”
“It’s massive, two Scousers,” said Fielding. “The city wants to see this fight. I've worked hard since (winning) Prizefighter to get here. I've got the power to do damage to him.”
Smith will hope to emulate his three brothers by winning the British title. Indeed, Paul Smith held the 168lb until only recently. “I've wanted this fight for a while now,” stated the 25-year-old.
“I'm looking forward to it. I’ve always felt I'm the better fighter and I'll prove that. Joe (Gallagher) will come up with the right game plan. I'm going to win and win well. We are going to put on a great show for Liverpool.”
Hearn concluded the second press conference by revealing that tickets will go on sale from September 1st.
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