Champion backing Bradley to begin with a win

Bradley Smith faces his first professional fight on Saturday.

Bradley Smith faces his first professional fight on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

Bradley Smith’s first test as a professional boxer has got a whole lot tougher.

The St Ives teenager makes his debut in the paid ranks at the famous York Hall venue in London this Saturday night but he will no longer be facing Joe Beeden – the loser of 28 of his 29 fights.

Instead Smith faces a far more difficult baptism as he takes on Bulgarian battler Ivaylo Boyanov – a man with a win, loss and draw in his three previous pro outings - in a four-round contest in the capital.

But he couldn’t be happier about the change of opponent. Smith said: “I’m convinced it will be better for me to face a better fighter in my first bout.

“I would much rather get in there and fight than have to face someone who would just have looked to survive for four rounds.

“I said I wanted to knock Beeden out to show everyone what I’m about and I still feel exactly the same about Boyanov.

“It would just be a much bigger statement to make.

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“I’m starting to feel a few nerves, but that’s only natural. I think it is more down to the fact I’ve sold a lot of tickets locally than anything else.

“I’m going to have around 150 fans at the fight and I don’t want to let them down.”

Smith, trained by namesake Barry, will have the backing of good friend and English light-welterweight champion Tommy Martin on Saturday night.

Martin is fresh from his latest success after forcing a seventh-round stoppage of Terry Needham in Liverpool on Friday night.

Martin said: “Bradley has been looking sharp for the last few weeks and I know how badly he wants to start well.

“I had a win last weekend and hopefully he can do the same this weekend. Myself and a few of my ‘Team Gun’ fans will be down in London cheering him on.”