Rising Irish middleweight Caoimhin Agyarko will meet Jez Smith at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford, London, on Friday, in what both fighters believe is the toughest test of their careers to date.

‘Black Thunder’ Agyarko (6-0, 3 KOs) ultimately has world championship aspirations, but the path to that level must pass through Smith, a career 147-pounder who is the younger brother of former ‘Young Boxer of the Year’ Mitchell Smith.

“Jez Smith is a decent opponent so I am looking forward to it,” said Belfast’s Agyarko. “I have been wanting someone who will come and fight, someone who will throw back and leave openings. Someone who will test me as well, so this could be it.

“He has never fought at middleweight before, but he carries a bit of power for a welterweight and has five stoppages from his 11 wins. I’ll not be taking anything for granted. Regardless of whether he is a welterweight or not, I am taking it as my toughest fight to date and I am going to put on a good performance.

“Obviously, I would have preferred a middleweight with a good record but nobody wanted to step up to the plate at this moment in time. Fair play to Jez for taking this fight and I am sure he will be out to prove everybody wrong and cause an upset.

“This is a stepping stone for me, a domestic dust-up and what I’ve been calling for. I am looking forward to getting the job done and moving on to bigger and better things.”

Meanwhile, Smith, from Harrow, feels a win over Agyarko can catapult him into the title mix. “I’d been preparing for a fight in Belarus and working hard, but I didn’t know what was going on with travel quarantine,” said Smith (11-1-1, 5 KOs). “So I put my name out there in case anything came up and then I got a message from my trainer saying we’ve been offered a fight at middleweight.

“I was going to fight between light middle and middle in Belarus so I said to myself it is just an extra few pounds and I believe I am big enough. To be honest with you, I look at Agyarko and I don’t think he is a middleweight.

“I believe he is not massive at the weight and, if he wanted to, he could do a lower weight. He is quite chunky but it doesn’t faze me and I believe I am strong enough and I spar bigger lads all the time. I can fight, I can box and, I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I am not coming in as a body. I am coming to win and he is going to get a tough night’s work.

“It is a massive opportunity for me. It is on BT Sport and, if I put on a massive performance and turn him over, it opens up a huge door for me,” he added. “I am not saying I am going to fight at middleweight from now on, it is just a fight I believe I hold my own in. I believe I can win. I am not being unrealistic because I don’t think he is a world-beater. 

“I’ve watched him and he is a good fighter, but I am believe I am too and I can’t wait to get in there. If people go off my last performance [LTKO8 Samuel Antwi for the Southern Area welterweight title] then more fool them.”

Agyarko vs Smith will be shown live on BT Sport 1 from 7pm on Friday in the UK.