Liam Smith sends warning to Josh Kelly after Anthony Joshua undercard bout confirmed

Liam Smith and Josh Kelly face off
-Credit: (Image: (James Fearn/Getty Images))

Liam Smith has warned Josh Kelly not to make the same mistake as some of his previous opponents and underestimate him.

After over a year out of the ring, Smith will return on Saturday, September 21, at Wembley Stadium, to take on Kelly in a middleweight clash. The fight will be on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's huge IBF heavyweight showdown against Daniel Dubois.

After stopping Chris Eubank Jr at the start of 2023, Smith suffered heartbreak in the rematch last September, when he was stopped in the tenth round. Although speaking after the bout at the AO Arena in Manchester, 'Beefy' admitted that he had been 'killed' in the build-up by a gruelling weight cut.

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Speculation was then rife about what the 35-year-old would do next following the defeat, but he put any talk about retirement to bed earlier this year when he confirmed he wanted to carry on fighting. And now, after the huge British showdown was confirmed, Smith warned Kelly, who has won his last five fights, that he should not be underestimating him like previous opponents have.

He said: "Obviously, it’s a great fight on a huge card. I’m privileged to be sitting here with world champions, former world champions, and top prospects in world boxing.

“I've always said I wanted to fight on an Anthony Joshua card at Tottenham or Wembley, and it’s mad I get the chance to do it.

“Regarding the fight, it is a fight that not many people thought about, but once it has been picked up, they have thought, 'That is a good fight.' It is an interesting fight.

"Once I knew it was signed and sealed, my focus has been on Josh Kelly. It is a fight I am looking forward to and a fight that I’m confident of winning.

“Obviously, Josh and Adam feel like they are getting me at the right time, but there have been fighters before who have made that mistake, and I think they will do the same thing.”

Before he continued: “Josh has got to step up at some time, and this might be his time, but from my point of view, Josh and that thing they are getting me at the right time.

“It is the same way Anthony Fowler thought he was after Russia; Josh and Adam are doing it after the Chris Eubank fight. The time out of the ring has been [my] choice because of the injury I have had. I feel refreshed, and I will have a good camp.

“I am excited, and this has lit a fire in my belly again. It is one that I am looking forward to. I have big respect for Josh and Adam, but business is business.”