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Preview: Stephen Smith, Josh Warrington, Kal Yafai, Tommy Coyle fight in Leeds

Sports Mole previews Matchroom Sport's 'North Power' show at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

British super-featherweight Stephen Smith will look to move one step closer to a world title shot when he faces Mauricio Javier Munoz for the WBC Silver belt in Leeds on Wednesday night.

That bout is scheduled to headline Matchroom Sport's 'North Power' show at the First Direct Arena, while Leeds-born fighter Josh Warrington will defend his Commonwealth featherweight crown against Martin Lindsay, with the British strap also being up for grabs.

Elsewhere on the card, Kal Yafai will attempt to win the Commonwealth super-flyweight title against Yaqub Kareem, while Gavin McDonnell and Tommy Coyle will also feature at the Yorkshire event.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at the headline acts, while also assessing the fights that will take place on the undercard.

1. Stephen Smith vs. Mauricio Javier Munoz

After he suffered defeat to Lee Selby in September 2011, Stephen Smith was forced to go back to the drawing board before making a second tilt at advancing up the domestic and world rankings.

Stephen Smith in action with Gary Buckland during their British Super-Featherweight Championship bout at Motorpoint Arena on August 17, 2013© Getty Images

Three first-round stoppages in four bouts earned Smith a shot at the British title, which he won by knocking out Gary Buckland, who has since defeated Gavin Rees, inside five rounds which saw him well placed to earn a belt associated with the WBC.

The Liverpudlian was paired with Sergio Manuel Medina in a contest that would see if the 28-year-old had the credentials to make an impact above domestic level, and 'Swifty' came through with flying colours against a durable opponent who had 39 wins to his name.

When Smith steps into the ring with Mauricio Javier Munoz, he will face a similar kind of challenge to the one that he had against Medina but, with Munoz only being placed into the match with less than a week's notice, it throws up a new task for Smith to overcome.

Munoz has only been stopped once in 32 fights, which came in a bout for the WBA super-bantamweight title, so his pedigree at world level is proven. However, while this will undoubtedly be the biggest test of Smith's career, he will be favourite to edge the match on points.

2. Josh Warrington vs. Martin Lindsay

Despite picking up the English featherweight title during an unbeaten start to his professional career, little was known about Josh Warrington until he recorded the first stoppage of his career to win the Commonwealth belt against Samir Mouneimne.

His next encounter saw him come up against Rendall Munroe, but Warrington relished the challenge of facing the former world title challenger and forced Munroe to quit on his stool midway through the match.

Josh Warrington lands a right hand on Rendall Munroe during the Commonwealth Featherweight Title fight between Josh Warrington and Rendall Munroe at MEN Arena on April 19, 2014© Getty Images

It was a major signal of intent from the Leeds boxer, and his impressive recent outings have earned him a major spot on the card in front of his home supporters, but his showdown with Martin Lindsay will require Warrington to continue his improvement.

Lindsay has lost just twice, to John Simpson and Lee Selby, in 23 outings and the 32-year-old will travel over from Belfast with a realistic shot of causing a surprise and inflicting the first loss on Warrington's record.

This is a fight that has got 12 rounds written all over it, and while Warrington will be expected to come through with the victory, he might not have it all his own way.

3. Kal Yafai vs. Yaqub Kareem

Kal Yafai began his professional career in outstanding fashion by recording eight victories in just under nine months before his progression was halted for half a year due to surgery on a torn bicep.

The 24-year-old returned at the end of 2013 to register two routine successes, but Wednesday's clash with Yaqub Kareem will indicate what level the Birmingham-born competitor should be fighting at throughout the rest of the year.

Yafai has already shown signs that he can compete on the global super-flyweight scene, but he needs to rediscover the momentum that he built before his injury 14 months ago and a showdown with Kareem could be the perfect springboard for him to make an impact above domestic level.

Kareem has failed to win four of his 17 fights, so Yafai will be expected to put on a dominant showing against the Nigerian, but whether he wins by stoppage or on points, this could be the fight that moves the Brit up the world rankings.

4. Gavin McDonnell vs. Josh Wale

Gavin McDonnell's first defence of the British super-bantamweight title will see him face Josh Wale in a rematch of their encounter from eight months ago.

On that occasion, McDonnell had little trouble in winning on points, but after failing to overly impress during his victory over Leigh Wood in his next bout, the 28-year-old has something to prove to his critics.

Wale comes into the fight with six defeats in 23 matches, but he has only been stopped on cuts, and this is a showdown that is likely to go the distance.

The challenger is going to need to improve if he is going to get the better of McDonnell, but if 28-year-old titlist starts slowly like in his last outing, Wale could force McDonnell to come from behind to get the win.


Tommy Coyle lands a punch during their Vacant Commonwealth Lightweight Championship bout at Craven Park Stadium on July 13, 2013© Getty Images

Yorkshireman Tommy Coyle tops the undercard at the First Direct Arena when he goes up against Michael Ansah in what, in theory, should be a tune-up match before greater tests in the future.

Coyle had been hoping to secure a major domestic showdown with Kevin Mitchell after coming back well from a loss to Derry Mathews, but after the Essex man opted for a different route, the 24-year-old will need to get past Ansah to earn a more significant fight later in the summer.

Earlier in the night, Tyrone Nurse, who recently won the English light-welterweight strap, will face Danny Little, while Gamal Yafai, the brother of Kal, will make his professional debut against Ricky Leach.

Sports Mole will be providing live text commentary of the show, with coverage scheduled to begin at 7.30pm.

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Scott Quigg celebrates his victory over Rendell Munroe during their Super Bantamweight bout at the MEN Arena on November 24, 2012
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