Now that he has a championship belt, Ishe Smith wants to defend it in front of his hometown fans.
The Las Vegan hopes to make his first title defense as the IBF junior middleweight champion in July, most likely against Carlos Molina (21-5-2, six knockouts).
“I hope it’ll be in Vegas so my fans can see me with the belt,” said Smith (25-5, 11 KOs), who defeated Cornelius Bundrage on Feb. 23 in Bundrage’s hometown of Detroit to win the title. “I’m hoping we’ll get that squared away soon.”
The 34-year-old Smith said he will begin training this week at the Mayweather Boxing Club and let his promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, handle the details for his first title defense.
“I told Leonard I want to defend the belt in Vegas, and he agrees,” Smith said. “I took some time off, and I just moved into a new house. Now, I’m ready to get back to work.”
Ellerbe said talks for Smith’s fight are ongoing but nothing is set.
■ BEY HURT — Las Vegas lightweight Mickey Bey injured his right hand while training Friday and will not fight Jose “Loco” Hernandez on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero fight May 4 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Ellerbe, who promotes the 29-year-old Bey, said the hand wasn’t broken but won’t be healed in time to fight.
“These things happen in boxing,” Ellerbe said. “At this level, you don’t want to take any chances.”
Bey was suspended in March for three months and fined $1,000 by the Nevada Athletic Commission after his urinalysis following a third-round knockout of Robert Rodriguez at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Feb. 2 yielded a testosterone ratio level of more than 30-1. In Nevada, 6-1 is the maximum legal limit.
Bey (18-0-1, nine KOs) passed an out-of-competition drug test April 3, as did Mayweather and Guerrero.
“I was glad the commission tested me,” Bey said Wednesday before injuring his hand. “This was a big hurdle for my peace of mind. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, and I told them you can test me 24/7/365.”
■ NEVADA HALL OF FAME — The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame will host its first public event with “A Night of Boxing Legends” on May 2 at Diego’s Restaurant inside the MGM Grand.
Fans can meet four of the inaugural class’ inductees — trainer Freddie Roach, boxer Mike McCallum, referee Joe Cortez and broadcaster Al Bernstein — get autographs and enter a raffle for memorabilia.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at nvbhof.com for $20. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $25. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.
■ LAS VEGAS VS. LONDON — The Center Ring Boxing Club will meet the Finchley Amateur Boxing Club of London on Thursday at the Silver Nugget. The event starts at 6 p.m., and tickets are $10.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.