MTK Global have announced that Liam Smith will travel to Russia on May 8 to face Magomed Kurbanov in a 12-round junior middleweight fight with a minor WBO title — and more importantly a WBO ranking — at stake.
The 32-year-old Smith (29-2-1, 16 KO) has held a world title at 154 in the past, and was recently fighting at 160, but is coming back down to junior middleweight for this one. He’s won three straight since his 2018 loss to Jaime Munguia.
Kurbanov (21-0, 13 KO) will look to make a solid statement here. The 25-year-old “Black Lion” is on the rise in a very competitive division, and beating Smith solidly would put him right in line to take on something even bigger.
Kurbanov last fought on Nov. 7 in Russia, stopping Dmitry Mikhaylenko in two rounds, while Smith was last in the ring in Dec. 2019, beating Roberto Garcia by decision over 10. There was some talk in 2020 of Smith fighting Kell Brook, but it didn’t pan out.