Jason Sosa is heading overseas to make his first junior lightweight title defense. He will face Stephen Smith on Nov. 12 at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
The fight represents a change of plans for Sosa (19-1-4, 15 KOs) of Camden, New Jersey. Initially, he was going to defend his secondary 130-pound title this fall against 21-year-old Baltimore product Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 KOs), a Floyd Mayweather protégé. But Sosa's co-promoter, Russell Peltz, told ESPN.com that when Davis and his team failed to finalize the fight, Sosa's team moved on to make a deal with Smith and his promoter, Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn.
"We are fighting Stephen Smith Nov. 12 in Monte Carlo. Davis or his team priced themselves out," Peltz said.
Sosa, 28, fought to a 10-round majority draw with former featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters in December 2015 in a fight that virtually all observers had Walters winning easily. But the draw put Sosa in position for a shot at secondary titleholder Javier Fortuna, and they fought on June 24 in Beijing.
Down on all three scorecards, Sosa rallied for an 11th-round knockout in a major upset to win the belt.
The title shot will be the second for Smith, 31, who is part of a Liverpool, England, fighting family. He is one of four brothers who box professionally. Liam Smith lost a junior middleweight world title by ninth-round knockout to Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 17; Callum Smith is a super middleweight contender; and Paul Smith has challenged twice for the super middleweight title.
Stephen Smith challenged junior lightweight titlist Jose Pedraza on April 16 at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on a Showtime-televised card, but Smith lost a unanimous decision in a competitive fight. He rebounded with a seventh-round knockout of Daniel Eduardo Brizuela on May 29 and is excited to get another chance at a world title.
"I'm delighted to have this fight, really grateful for the opportunity as I believe it's a fight I will win," Smith told ESPN.com on Saturday. "The fact that I got the chance so soon after Pedraza was even better. I was happy to fight again straight after that fight (against Brizuela), and it has proved beneficial now with this opportunity coming about.
"I think Sosa is a good, solid fighter without being spectacular in any area in particular. He has had a couple of decent results lately -- drawing with Walters, then beating Fortuna -- although, like many, I thought Walters won. [Sosa's] confidence should be high, and I should be facing him at his best, which I'm relishing."
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, who represents Fortuna but also has options on Sosa, said the winner of Sosa-Smith will have to face Fortuna next. Fortuna (30-1-1, 22 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, has the contractual right to a rematch against Sosa or to a fight against an opponent who defeats him.
Fortuna, 27, rebounded from the loss to Sosa with a second-round knockout of countryman Marlyn Cabrera on Sept. 23.
One of the fights in the works for the card is a rematch between former super middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham (45-5, 30 KOs) of Germany, and England's Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs). Abraham, 36, claimed a split decision against Murray in a November 2015 title defense.
Abraham lost the 168-pound belt in his next fight to Mexico's Gilberto Ramirez but rebounded with a win on July 16. Murray, 34, bounced back with a win after the loss to Abraham but then lost his next bout, a unanimous 12-round decision to countryman George Groves on June 25.