By Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz)
Paul Smith has secured a third top level fight.
The Liverpool super middleweight, 32, will face Andre Ward in America over 12 rounds on June 20 as the WBA champion returns following 17 months of inactivity, live on on Sky Sports in the UK and BET Television across the pond.
The fight will be the first telecast of up to nine two-hour slots of RocNation Sports evens to be aired over the next 18 months which can be streamed internationally on Tidal.
Ward, who hasn’t fought since defending his world title in 2013 against Edwin Rodríguez, said: “I have to be on my best game to turn Smith away and beat him the way I want to beat him. As always, I’m ready to put on a tremendous performance in front of my hometown fans and those watching on BET. This is a fight you don’t want to miss.”
Smith will come up against the undefeated 31-year-old at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on the back of two defeats to Arthur Abraham in challenges for the WBO world title at 168lbs in Kiel and Berlin, Germany, respectively.
“I cannot wait to get back in the ring and test myself against a class act like Andre Ward,” Smith said.
“I proved that I belong at the top level with my performances against Arthur Abraham and this is a challenge that I am relishing. Andre is a top pound-for-pound fighter and someone I respect a lot, but he has only boxed once in almost three years and I will give it everything I have got.
“It’s a massive opportunity for me and one that I took with both hands when it was offered. I have spent a lot of time boxing in the United States and I look forward to returning for this fight.”
After recently relinquishing the British title, he’ll head Stateside to take on the one of the pound-for-pound best fighters across the globe, but the Super strap held by the six-foot orthodox stylist, who is making his debut under the RocNation Sports banner, will not be on the line.