Smith-Boschiero to determine Pedraza's mandatory challenger

Italy's Devis Boschiero, left, will travel to Liverpool, England, to challenge Stephen Smith in a junior lightweight title eliminator on Sept. 19. Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images

Junior lightweight Stephen Smith will have the home-turf advantage at the Liverpool Olympia in England, where he will meet Italy’s Devis Boschiero in a junior lightweight title eliminator on Sept. 19, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Wednesday.

The winner will become the mandatory challenger for Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza (20-0, 12 KOs), who won a vacant 130-pound belt by near-shutout decision against Russia’s Andrey Klimov on June 13.

Smith (22-1, 12 KOs), 30, has won 10 fights in a row since an eighth-round knockout to Lee Selby (who went on to win a featherweight world title) in a 2011 British and Commonwealth featherweight title bout. Boschiero (37-3-1, 19 KOs), 34, challenged for a junior lightweight world title in 2011 but lost a split decision in Japan to Takahiro Ao.

“This is by far the biggest fight of Stephen Smith's career, and victory over Boschiero will guarantee him a shot at IBF champ Pedraza next,” Hearn said. “Boschiero is a very tough fight. He clearly won the WBC title in Japan and should have been crowned champion [against Ao]. He will give Stephen all he can handle.”