After witnessing one of his siblings challenge for a world title in Germany last weekend, Callum Smith is eyeing some massive fights for himself over the next 12 months ahead of his eight-round clash on Saturday night against Rafael Sosa Pintos at the First Direct Arena, Leeds live on Sky Sports, in association with Grosvenor Casinos.
The super middleweight sensation is already on the lips of many in boxing after just 13 fights into his career. Callum is expecting to follow in eldest brother Paul’s footsteps by challenging for world honours after the 31-year-old produced a career-best performance in defeat to WBO 168lb champion Arthur Abraham.
Like many in the venue and watching on television, Callum thought the fight was a lot closer than the controversial scorecards of 117-110, 119-109 and 117-111 had suggested.
“I had it very close, to be honest, and thought Paul may have just shaded it,” said the youngest of the four fighting Smith brothers.
“We knew it was a big ask going over there but performance-wise I thought Paul was outstanding. He stuck to a great game plan and proved a lot of people wrong. We always knew he just needed a chance and if he prepared properly we’d see how good he was. We saw how good he was on Saturday night. In previous fights he’s never been 100 per cent. He done everything right in this camp and in my eyes he should be world champion.”
Callum, who carries the ring moniker of ‘Mundo’, believes that the 34-year-old Abraham is not the force he once was and is there for the taking for any of the top level contenders.
“As he’s getting older he’s getting lazier,” said Callum. “He’s big and strong but his bursts come once, twice a round then he’s looking to get a breather.
“I think ability-wise he is there for the taking. He doesn’t do anything special. He’s got a very, very good jab but apart from that he doesn’t do too much. But he does have experience and he’s a big, hard, strong man who knows what he’s doing. He has a reputation of being a big puncher and heavy handed and I think that takes pressure off other parts of his game when he fights. I do think he’s on the way down and he’s there for the taking for most super middleweights who will challenge for a world title.”
Despite his brother’s defeat, Paul, Callum and others are forming some exciting times for British fighters at super middleweight. Something that fans have already witnessed after the drama and occasion of the Carl Froch-George Groves two-fight series. With James DeGale close to challenging for a world title, the unbeaten Smith says that a fight with someone like Groves next spring or summer is a realistic target, especially as it was announced yesterday that Callum will face Nikola Sjekloća in an official eliminator for the WBC super middleweight title.
“I think Groves is a good fighter but I said before the second Froch fight he showed a lot of faults and vulnerabilities first time around,” said Smith. “In the first fight he was outstanding but in the second fight he was the Groves we’ve seen before. He rose to the occasion first time and fought out of his skin but apart from that I don’t think he’s shown anything special since. He’s got a good jab and he’s heavy handed but he does make mistakes.
“I think against Christopher Rebrasse he showed quite a lot of mistakes and I’d like to fight the Groves that boxed him. As long as I get more rounds and experience then for next spring/summer it’s a fight that could definitely happen. We’ve seen how much the Brits love a big domestic fight and I’d love to be involved in some of them. George Groves and James DeGale are both there at world level, they’re both still relatively young and when I get there those fights will still be available.”
Smith’s 14th professional outing forms part of what should be a lively and raucous night at the First Direct Arena, headlined by local hero Josh Warrington who fights for the vacant European featherweight title against Davide Dieli. The undercard sees the return of former two-weight world champion Ricky Burns and former world title challenger Brian Rose, as well as Tyrone Nurse who fights for the vacant Commonwealth light welterweight title against Dave Ryan.
Tickets are on sale now priced £30, £40 and £60 from the First Direct Arena on 0844 248 1585 and at www.firstdirectarena.com. VIP tickets priced at £120 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359 900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.
Courtesy of the Matchroom Boxing press office