FORMER world champion Liam Smith is working his way back to another title shot. On May 8 he travels to Ekaterinburg to fight Russia’s Magomed Kurbanov.
“Spain, Mexico, America. I’ve fought a few times in America now, I fought in Texas, Vegas, Arizona. I fought in Hermosillo, Mexico. I don’t mind, I like fighting away,” Smith tells Boxing News. “I don’t care where I box, I don’t care who I box. Put an opponent in front of me and I’ll work to a gameplan to beat him, and I’m confident of beating him. This opponent I’m absolutely confident of beating. It’s a good opponent, it’s a solid opponent with a world ranking and he’s an unbeaten opponent. So it’s a very, very good fight, at a good stage in my career, puts me right back in the mix.”
Smith is already ranked third with the WBO and this bout is for their International strap. Victory would push him closer to a mandatory position. “I feel a young 32. I wouldn’t be in the sport if I didn’t feel I had something left to offer,” Liam said. “I think I’ve got a good solid two years left. I haven’t had many beatings. The Canelo fight I got stopped in, the [Jaime] Munguia fight I went 12 rounds, I never really took a beating in the Munguia fight.”
“There’s no one in my division where I think I’ll never beat him,” Smith continued. “I definitely feel I’ve got another world title in me.
“I think I would have murdered Patrick Teixeira [the former holder of the WBO belt]. Now [Brian] Castano’s just won it, I think I beat Castano. I think Castano’s a top fighter but he’s a fighter I do believe I can beat.”
Smith doesn’t rule out an eventual move up to middleweight. If Liam Williams, whom Smith holds two wins over, beats WBO 160lb champion Demetirus Andrade that could be of interest.
Liam also has a past with Chris Eubank Jnr. “We’ve got history, we’ve done a lot of sparring together. I think that can easily be made especially now he’s got Sauerland [promoting him]. We had good spars. To be honest with you at that time, I thought he was limited. But a very, very good athlete. Now I think he’s improved and got better,” Smith said. “He can throw four, six punches at what his power is 100%. If he hits 70% hard, he can throw six punches at that power… He doesn’t need to throw two light, one hard, he can put his punches together. I think he’s a fit, strong athlete in that sense. But ability wise and boxing IQ, he’s very limited.
“It’s a fight I’d be massively confident I’d win. If I’m fit and in shape and can do the 12 rounds, I’m massively confident of beating Chris Eubank. I know while we’re both fresh he doesn’t win one round, until fitness and strength comes into it then he comes into his own.”
Liam Smith has had an entire year out but he remains determined. “I’ve got more fire, more enthusiasm, more love for it now, than I have done for the last two or three years,” he declares. “I’ve just got this love for the sport again and this fire in my belly to prove I’ve probably still got a world title left in me. I don’t know what it is but I feel motivated more than ever.”