Stephen Smith stops Devis Boschiero to earn IBF title shot
Last Updated: 20/09/15 7:52am
Stephen Smith is next in line for a shot at a super-featherweight world title after blowing away Devis Boschiero in six rounds on Saturday night.
The Liverpool fighter delighted a home crowd at the Olympia as a series of vicious body shots earned him a TKO victory and a crack at Jose Pedraza's IBF title.
With his brothers Paul and Liam already earning world title shots and younger sibling Callum on the rise, Smith's victory was another feather in the cap of one of England's foremost fighting families.
The damage had been done in the early exchanges but the finish came through a vicious left to the rib cage - one of numerous similar punches from Smith - that crumpled Boschiero.
The Italian, who had never been stopped in 41 previous fights, spat out his gumshield but bravely beat the referee's count - although he was ushered to continue without putting it back in.
Smith pounced and blasted an identical shot to the same place and, this time, Boschiero wasn't even given the opportunity to continue.
The 30-year-old had opened the scrap by thumping rights and lefts into Boschiero's body, alluding to his eventual demise.
A right hook at close quarters in the second round sent Boschiero to the canvas, and Smith followed that with a flurry that put his opponent down again. Gamely, he refused to stay grounded.
By the fourth, the visitor's wounded left eye had swollen close to shutting and he sported the body language of a man desperately awaiting the first flight home.
A further punch to the body in the fifth round from Smith forced Boschiero to take a step back and a deep breath and, by the sixth, the accumulated damage was too much.
"I knew the body shots would play a part and we were adamant they would hurt him," Smith told Sky Sports. "And they did."