Liam Smith wants Miguel Cotto showdown after Jimmy Kelly

Liam Smith and Jimmy Kelly
Liam Smith (left) is one of four boxing brothers - and the first to win a world title

Liam Smith has called out Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto ahead of the first defence of his WBO light-middleweight title against Jimmy Kelly on Saturday.

Liam became the first of Liverpool's four fighting Smith brothers to win a world title when he stopped American John Thompson in October.

Kelly will be taking part in only his 17th pro fight at the Manchester Arena but will have home advantage.

"Miguel Cotto is up there as one of the names I want to face," said Smith, 27.

"Cotto's been a great champion and to beat him will take me to that next level. I definitely believe I have what it takes to overcome him because my style would cause him some big problems.

"I know Kelly is going to go into the ring thinking this is his big chance but I'm not going to give him an inch.

Ensley Bingham and Ronald Wright
Kelly's trainer Ensley Bingham (left) challenged Ronald Wright for the WBO light-middleweight title in 1996

"I have big ambitions and I'm not going to be foolish and overlook the threat he will bring. But there are some major fights for me if I come through this one."

Cotto is a former four-weight world champion who lost to Mexico's Saul Alvarez in his last fight in November. Cotto has been campaigning as a middleweight for the last three years.

Smith, who is unbeaten in 21 pro fights, is also targeting unification matches with WBA champion Erislandy Lara and IBF champion Jermall Charlo.

Kelly, 23, is trained by former British light-middleweight champion and world title challenger Ensley Bingham, who believes his charge is boxing's best-kept secret.

"While we've been able to study tapes of all of Liam's fights, there's very little footage available of Jimmy," said Bingham.

"That's hugely to our advantage. Trust me, he's just as capable. It's just no-one's seen it yet. A Jimmy Kelly victory would be an upset in most eyes, but not mine.

"He's got the better skills. His balance, movement, angles and punch-picking are exceptional. He also brings unbelievable core strength from all the wrestling he's done.external-link

"He's deceptively tough and durable for a tall lad and if the Smith camp think Jimmy doesn't hit hard, that'll play massively to our advantage. Jimmy's very dangerous with either hand, and to head or body."

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