STEPHEN SMITH insists ‘nothing’ will get in the way of his world title dreams when he fights IBF world super-featherweight champion Jose Pedraza on Saturday [April 16].
‘Swifty’ makes his American debut at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut against the unbeaten Puerto Rican, who represented his country at the 2008 Olympics.
Smith became aware of Pedraza when they were both still in the unpaid ranks and feels the fight will come to more than just tactics and skill.
“I’m excited. If you want to make a name in boxing, then you’re going to do it in the states and that’s what I plan on doing by becoming a world champion Saturday,” he said.
“I know his name from the amateur days. He’s well established, he’s an Olympian and he’s a talented man.
“To fight somebody consists of winning or not, it goes beyond tactics, beyond style and beyond skillset really. I believe I have what it takes to fight anyone and nothing will keep me from becoming a world champion.”
A smart switch-hitter, Pedraza won the vacant IBF belt with a rousing decision win over Andrey Klimov last June before defending the bauble against Edner Cherry in October.
Cherry pushed the champion hard and Pedraza was awarded a questionable decision after 12 rounds.
Stephen’s younger brother Callum won the European super-middleweight title in emphatic fashion two weeks ago, while Liam currently holds the WBO world super-welterweight title.
Smith, 30, earned his crack at Pedraza with a career-best performance against Devis Boschiero, who he stopped inside six rounds in September, and intends to add yet another major title to his family’s already-impressive haul.
“It can be a different type of fight; we know he likes to switch it up and box from different stances. He’s obviously talented so it’s going to take a different set from each way but we know what to expect. I’ve gone over everything with my trainer Joe Gallagher and we’re ready to go,” he said.
“It’s special. Two weeks ago Callum won a European title and it just gives me confidence.
“I’m in a really good place mentally and I couldn’t be feeling better going into it. After my camp going successfully, it just makes you feel better going ahead to become a world champion.”
“There’s a lot of history there and for myself and my family, so we do what we’ve always wanted to do and we’re looking to just keep moving forward.”