Stephen Smith has put himself in line for a shot at the IBF super featherweight title, routing and stopping Italy's Devis Boschiero in an advertised eliminator bout today in Liverpool, dropping Boschiero five times en route to a sixth round TKO win.
Smith (23-1, 13 KO) put Boschiero down two times in the second round, once in the fourth, and twice more in the sixth. A vicious body shot in round six pretty much finished the fight, with Boschiero (37-4-1, 19 KO) getting back to his feet but clearly a finished fighter. He took a knee because his mouthpiece had come out, but referee Marcus McDonnell ordered the fight to continue. Another body shot moments later put Boschiero down again, and the fight was stopped there.
Over the course of the fight, Smith did a lot of damage, targeting the body nicely and shutting Boschiero's left eye, making the Italian veteran target practice by the fourth round. It was a sharp, dominant performance by Smith, who believes he's reaching his potential, something he never saw as having left him.
"I lost one fight to a world champion and everyone's raving about him. I never slagged him afterwards. I want to win my world title, I want to achieve my own ambitions," Smith said, referencing his loss to Lee Selby in 2011.
"World class. That's his best career performance. He needed it. He did it tonight against a very established good fighter," said trainer Joe Gallagher.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said that Smith is in line to face the winner of the October 3 IBF super featherweight title fight between defending titleholder Jose Pedraza and challenger Edner Cherry, which will air on Showtime.