WBO World Super-Welterweight champion Liam Smith has played down suggestions that his first World Title defence is a soft touch.

Jimmy Kelly, ranked #8 with the WBO, was the highest ranked available opponent in the WBO’s World rankings for Saturday 19 December’s big show.

“You’ve seen who I’ve been sparring, it’s cost a bomb! There’s no way I’ve overlooked Jimmy Kelly,” revealed Beefy.

“It’s not cheap, I’ve got good money to go and spar Cotto and Canelo so I know what type of sparring you’ve got to bring in to reach that level,” continued the unbeaten 27 year old.

Speaking to BoxNation’s Steve Lillis, Smith rebuffed some claims Kelly has taken the mental edge ahead of next week’s fight.

Smith v Kelly

“Jimmy Kelly hasn’t got to me, he’s got me up for a fight. I’ve got a bit of needle with him.”

The pair recently exchanged words at a recent press conference in the build up to the fight which has added further spice to this Liverpool v Manchester derby.

“I’m going to show him it was a mistake fighting me at this stage, he’s not ready for me.”

Victory for Smith would open some potential huge fights in 2016 against the likes of Miguel Cotto and possible unification bouts against the likes of Erislandy Lara.

“Stylistically wise me and him [Cotto] match up. That would be a great fight!”

Subscribe to BoxNation to watch Liam Smith v Jimmy Kelly and Andy Lee v Billy Joe Saunders live on Saturday 19 December.

Watch the full interview with Liam Smith below: