Liam Smith to make first world title defense against Jimmy Kelly in December at Manchester Arena

Holder: Smith celebrates his victory over Mark Gallagher in OctoberLiam-Smith-1   Photo by Getty – 

The bout will take place at the Manchester Arena just two months after Smith won the WBO light-middleweight title in the same venue in October

Liam Smith will make the first defence of his WBO light-middleweight title against Jimmy Kelly on December 19 at the Manchester Arena.

Smith and the unbeaten Kelly clash on a double world title show, live on BoxNation, alongside WBO middleweight champ Andy Lee’s twice-postponed fight with Billy Joe Saunders.

Kelly, 23, is undefeated in 16 professional fights.

Smith, who won the title against Joe Gallagher in October, said: “I can’t wait to make the opening defence of my world title against Kelly.

“I’m entering the prime of my career and I’m not going to let an upstart like Kelly anywhere near taking my title. This belt is leaving with me back to its home in Liverpool.”

Kelly said: “I just know that this is my time and I’m ready for my opportunity to become world champion.

“Boxing is about opportunities – either you take them when they’re presented or you lose them and somebody else will take it.

“I’m not going to be someone who dwells on a missed opportunity and I’m going out there to smash up Liam Smith and take his world title.

“I’ll have too much of everything for Smith in every department.”