Stephen Smith knows it's make or break against Devis Boschiero, says trainer Joe Gallagher
Last Updated: 16/09/15 2:04pm
Trainer Joe Gallagher is confident Stephen Smith can finally put himself in the limelight by beating Devis Boschiero on Saturday - live on Sky Sports.
The 30-year-old (22-1-KO12) fights in front of his home crowd in Liverpool in an IBF eliminator and Gallagher has said his form in training suggests he can soon emulate the achievements of his famous boxing brothers and his only conqueror - featherweight world champion Lee Selby.
Gallagher told Sky Sports: "It's an important fight. He knows it's now or never without me saying anything. I feel sorry for him in a way when you look at Lee Selby getting the world title, Paul [Smith] having those three world title fights back to back, Callum's rapid rise and Stephen has been a slow-burner.
He's come back and at this point in his career he really wants the big fights. We were hoping to get a shot at Takashi Miura but that moved very slowly and this opportunity presented itself.
Joe Gallagher on Stephen Smith
"His breakout performance was beating Gary Buckland and then he claimed international belts before kidney stone problems ruled him out of fights last year. He's come back and at this point in his career he really wants the big fights. We were hoping to get a shot at Takashi Miura but that moved very slowly and this opportunity presented itself.
"He has to win. I wouldn't say his career's on the line but he's in a make-or-break fight so first and foremost it's about the win. I think it'll be hard. Boschiero is very good and used to fighting on the road. A lot of people thought he won when he fought for a world title in Japan.
"I always say Stephen's best performances have been on the road but I see this fight like the second John Simpson fight - both fighters are going to have moments in the fight. We have to rely on the crowd to get behind to help him get this win we so badly need.
"Every trainer says their fighter is 100% in great shape but with Stephen Smith, that is the case. He's trained really well and we've had some world-class sparring. We've had Viorel Simion, who pushed Lee Selby over 12 rounds, over from Romania."
Gallagher was also a keen spectator at the weekend as he watched Badou Jack defend his world super-middleweight title against George Groves with another Smith brother, Callum, hoping to earn a world title shot should he overcome fellow Liverpudlian Rocky Fielding in November.
Gallagher added: "There's nothing quiet about it. I've said to Eddie Hearn time and time again: 'Get that fight.' I was really hoping George Groves won at the weekend and I think he is coming in for unnecessary stick. He came back after that knockdown and took Jack's jab away from him.
"It was a close fight. I thought he did really well and I don't think he should beat himself up. He came back well. As far as Callum's concerned, it's a shame George isn't world champion but Callum's got his own fight first in November and then obviously we'll be looking for a shot at Jack."