Callum Smith says he can handle the pressure of being called the ‘hottest young prospect’ in world boxing as he faces Vladine Biosse at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool on July 12, live on Sky Sports.
Smith has raced to 11-0 in with nine stoppage wins and claimed the WBC International super middleweight title in October and returned from injury to defend in style against Tobias Webb in Cardiff in May.
The 24-year-old has caught the attention of the boxing world in a big way with promoter Eddie Hearn expecting Smith to be rubbing shoulders with the best fighters in the 168lbs division by the end at the beginning of 2016.
Smith, who went on a remarkable run of six first round KO wins in 2013, has stepped up in his recent fights beginning with his first round demolition against former Prizefighter champion Patrick Mendy for the English title in September, then claiming his WBC crown against former world title challenger Ruben Eduardo Acosta before his first defence against Webb, and he’s expecting another tough test in his hometown.
“I think I have a lot to do but it’s nice to be named as one to watch,” said Smith. “I don’t believe I am the hottest prospect in world boxing as there are some great young fighters out there, but I must be doing something right if people are talking about me in that way.
“You are only as good as your last performance and if I am poor against Biosse then the same people who think I am one of the ones to watch will say I’m not as good as they thought. I just need to keep working hard in the gym and listening to my trainer Joe Gallagher and just beating whoever Eddie puts in front of me.
“I saw his last fight, he’s an experienced southpaw and another step up for me which is what I wanted to end the season with. I’m looking to perform well again and it looks like a distance fight for me. He’s only been stopped three times in 20 fights and last time out against J’Leon Love he went to the 10th round so it looks like it could go a few rounds, I like the early KOs but I do think that I need to get some rounds and he’s been brought in for that reason.
“In boxing one punch can change a fight and that has been the case with me. He’s a southpaw so it might take me a few rounds to get used to him and he’s been around so it’s good experience for me.
“Every fight I have had has been the toughest one, I think I’ve stepped up the opposition a lot over my last three or four fights but nothing changes behind the scenes for them, we work hard and make sure everything is right and if it is, then I am confident of getting the job done.”
Smith’s clash with Biosse is part of a great night of action in Liverpool as Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly continue to move towards a rematch as they face their second fights at cruiserweight against Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Alejandro Valori respectively.
Olympic gold medal heroes Anthony Joshua, MBE and Luke Campbell, MBE close their debut pro seasons with their first action in Liverpool, with Joshua facing Matt Skelton while Campbell’s opponent will be announced soon. They are joined by Team GB teammate and bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo who faces Sheffield’s Wayne Reed.
Callum’s brother Stephen keeps busy in an eight-round clash as he prepares to fight for a world title in the new season while Smith’s fellow Liverpool super middleweight talent Rocky Fielding takes on Noe Gonzalez Alcoba.
Unbeaten Liverpool featherweight John Quigley is in his 13th fight on the bill which is completed by former Team GB starlet Gamal Yafai and unbeaten Cambridge lightweight Tommy Martin.
Tickets are on sale priced £30, £40, £60 and ringside seats at £100 available from the ECHO Arena on 0844 8000 400 and at www.echoarena.com.
VIP tickets priced at £150 are exclusively available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359 900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.