“Callum Smith knocks George Groves out and becomes world champion” – the brutally honest and emphatic prediction from the RedsBet ambassador himself as he ramps up his preparation for the mouth-watering WBA Super-Middleweight clash on 28th September.
Often a quiet and unassuming character outside of the ring, the 28-year old is anything but with a pair of gloves on shielding his fists, as indeed his unblemished record to date shows; 24 wins, 17 of which coming inside the distance with no defeats.
It’s been a long time coming for the youngest of the Smith brothers. Touted as one of the best in his weight class since his amateur days, “Mundo”, through no fault of his own, has had to take the long road to finally arrive at a world title shot.
Having fallen victim of the complexities involving the politics of the sport’s organising bodies and title holders, coupled with injuries to potential opponents, it’s fair to say everyone concerned with Smith has had to play a waiting game.
The World Boxing Super Series presented an opportunity to give him a definitive path to a shot at world glory, but obviously came with risks of its own – namely two more challenging bouts.
“For the tournament to come along and know I’d have to win two more fights was a gamble, but one I knew I could do,” said Smith.
Even after reaching the final, it’s never been smooth sailing. A persistent shoulder injury has blighted Groves since his unanimous points win over Chris Eubank junior in February, meaning a date was only finalised a matter of weeks ago.
From Smith’s perspective though, the frustration and patience he’s had to show have only strengthened his credentials: “I was a mandatory world title challenger just over two years ago and in that time I think I’ve matured and I’m now a better fighter.
“Everything happens for a reason and I feel I’ve improved enough that I can win a world title and stay there for as long as I want.
“The first half of my career ran so smooth, I was fighting near enough every month and knocking people out – it was probably a lot smoother than any other fighter. I was spoilt a bit at the start but then it became more frustrating so it sort of balances itself out.
“As long as I beat George Groves and become a world champion then it doesn’t really matter.”
The delay in confirming a date for this fight has meant preparation hasn’t been ideal, but Smith is confident his ability to adapt to whatever George Groves has to offer in Jeddah will be more than enough to see him lift the WBA strap and also says that in his coach Joe Gallagher, he has the perfect person to study and predict what the current champion will bring.
“Obviously you look at his strengths and weaknesses from previous fights, but I’m a lot different stylistically to say a Carl Froch. I believe Joe is very good at that – studying the opponent and coming up with the tactics and shots we need.
“So far in my career I’ve listened to him (Joe Gallagher) and we’ve always got it right and I feel this fight will be no different.”
There’s little in Smith’s demeanour that portrays any sort of arrogance, and despite being the bigger man at six foot three inches throughout each of his professional fights at super-middleweight, including this one, he remains respectful of the challenge Groves will present: “I’ve got to be prepared for whatever George Groves comes up with.
“He’s had a great career and he’s the best in the world in this division right now and has the world title I want. He always seems to raise his game for these big domestic fights and I have to be expecting the best version of him and be prepared for that.
“It’s my time to become world champion.”
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