Jose Pedraza to defend IBF 130-pound title against Stephen Smith
Unbeaten Puerto Rican technician Jose Pedraza (21-0, 12 knockouts) will defend his IBF junior lightweight title against England’s Stephen Smith (23-1, 13 KOs) in New York on March 26.
In June, Pedraza, who is rated No. 7 at 130 pounds by THE RING, annexed the vacant title by posting a wide unanimous decision over Andrey Klimov and then scraped through on a split verdict against Edner Cherry to retain the belt in October.
Smith, a former British and Commonwealth champion from Liverpool, floored Devis Boschiero four times on route to a sixth-round stoppage in a final eliminator in September, and will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time.
The 30-year old Smith, whose sole loss was to reigning IBF featherweight titleholder Lee Selby, is one of four professional boxing brothers: Liam is the IBF junior middleweight titleholder, Callum is a top super middleweight contender, and older brother Paul was unsuccessful in two recent bouts against WBO 168-pound titleholder Arthur Abraham.
A venue for Pedraza-Smith is yet to be determined.