PAUL SMITH AIMS TO SET RECORD STRAIGHT IN BERLIN
By Sam Jordan
British Super Middleweight Paul Smith is intent on bringing back what he believes is ‘his belt’ when he returns to Germany to face Arthur Abraham in their world title rematch on February 21st.
Smith, 32, record reading 35-4, is to face Abraham once again this time in Berlin live on Sky Sports after his first challenge in Kiel resulted in failure.
It was not without controversy however as Smith, as well as many boxing fans and pundits, thought he had edged the fight but acknowledged that it was a tight affair that could have gone either way.
After lengthy discussions between Abraham’s promoters Sauerland and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, Smith has been handed his deserved second shot of becoming a world champion, an opportunity he intends to take with both hands and this time, take the judges scorecards out of the equation.
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“This time I know I can beat him” Smith said after the announcement of the return bout in December. Later adding “I believe I won the fight, I just didn’t get the belt or the decision”
Smith then told Ringside (Sky Sports’ weekly boxing show) yesterday that his feelings are unchanged and that he feels he should be going into the bout as the champion and not the challenger
The judges scorecards from the first enthralling contest failed to reflect this opinion, with two judges giving Abraham the victory by six rounds and one judge failing to even give Smith a round, prompting the WBO to label that particular scoring as ‘outrageous’.
In the initial aftermath there were calls for Smith to be handed an immediate rematch, something promoter Eddie Hearn insisted was a must. Hearn also strained in the after fight press conference that he would lobby with the WBO on Smith’s behalf for the organisation to order an immediate rematch, something fight fans had seen previously when the IBF mandated Carl Froch to fight George Groves after their initial fight in November 2013 had ended in controversy.
Although the scoring was investigated, Smith and Hearn failed in their attempt to get a rematch ordered. He did however keep his top five ranking within the organisation, prompting Hearn to start negotiations with the Sauerland Brothers for an immediate return.
An animated Smith was unsure whether he would want to return to Germany when interviewed after the fight, listing decisions that had gone against British fighters in the past there, including Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray.
But it is Berlin that is going to host the return, with the current British champion content knowing there will be neutral and top officials on show this time round.
Speaking previously about the prospective officials, Smith told the BBC “The WBO are a very competent organisation and I know they base themselves on integrity and loyalty. They wouldn’t send another three bad judges to Germany because they know this fight is going to be scrutinised.”
Champion Abraham, who has a record of 41-4 with 28 knockouts, has lit the touch paper ahead of the encounter stating he aims to knock Smith out and produce a better display this time around, warning Smith “He should be careful what he wishes for.”
The ‘Real Gone Kid’ from Liverpool remains unfazed by Abraham’s comments, stating he believes he has the power to hurt any one on the planet.
One thing is for sure, this return bout is bigger than the first fight. It will have the prying eyes of the world watching. Both fighters genuinely believe they will leave the ring with the belt. If I was to put my money on it, and judging by the last fight, I believe there is going to be an upset. Smith has all the attributes to dethrone King Arthur as he proved last time and if he keeps the decorated champion at bay with his jab, I believe Smith can take enough rounds to win the contest on points.
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