Liverpool’s Liam Smith will be facing Magomed Kurbanov for the vacant International Light-middleweight title in Ekaterinburg, Russia. This is the Russian’s back garden
There were discussions about Smith alternatively fighting the likes of Kell Brook, Tim Tszyu and Patrick Teixeira. Each fighter either possess a higher ranking in the four governing bodies. and receive higher compensation. His management team were unable to finalise any agreements with these boxers.
The former WBO champion avidly believes he can hold his own with current champions even at the age of 32. If he by beats Kurbanov on Friday, he could shoot himself back up the rankings. A world title shot could await
Liam Smith and Canelo Alvarez
Liam ‘beefy’ Smith was WBO champion until he faced Canelo Alvarez in 2016. It ended in the 9th round by a devastating body-shot. He had another opportunity to reclaim that belt in 2018 against Jaime Mungia, the young Mexican won. It went via unanimous decision.
The fight is on the same weekend as the Super-middleweight unification clash between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders. It is evident that Smith vs Kurbanov would not get the same media attention. It is a fascinating clash which could lead to world title eliminators.
This might be Smith’s last chance to go after a world title before retirement. This might be one of the best opportunities for him as well. Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano will be fighting on July 17th. This will be for the undisputed championship. The winner will inevitably decide to move up to middleweight which would fragment all belts and become vacant.
If Smith is able to beat Kurbanov in Russia, it would set him up for eliminators either in the WBA or the WBO rankings. Kurbanov is a tough young opponent who would give his absolute best to win a world title for his homeland.