After nearly a year out of the ring, former three time world title challenger Paul Smith returns tonight on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s WBA world title defence against Ismael Barroso at the Manchester Arena.

An outright Lonsdale belt holder Smith (35-6-KO20) failed in his attempts to win the WBO world title from Arthur Abraham twice in 2014 and 2015 and then against Andre Ward, his last fight in June.

Scouser Smith, the eldest brother of the fighting Smith brothers, all champions; still has designs on a fourth world title fight and join sibling Liam, as a reigning champion. He begins his latest assault on the world title trail with a six-round contest against Czech Republics Bronislav Kubin in what should be a routine win.

“I’m not too bothered with how I perform, I just want to get the win, get rid of the cobwebs and shake the rust off and get back to fighting again,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“I didn’t do myself justice against Ward who, in my opinion, is the best fighter in the world at super-middleweight or light-heavyweight so I need to get back in, go through the gears and set myself up for the next one as soon as possible.

“One more then I will be ready for anyone that calls and wants to fight, but there is a misconception that I am demanding world-title fights. I am not, but I do want them.

“I am not knocking on the doors of world champions demanding this and that, they were the ones that phoned me. Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham’s people got in touch.”

“People have been asking if it’s a bit weird, getting up for a six-rounder but I am right up for it. It is a fight and as soon as I walk to the centre of the ring and touch gloves, it doesn’t matter, it is a fight.”

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