Liverpools Callum Smith will aim to further cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to ever come out of his city, when he travels to Canada to attempt what many deem a near impossible task, trying to stop the destructive, unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. The fight will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and ESPN in the United States
Smith [29-1, 21 KO’s], one of the famous fighting Smith brothers, first made a name for himself in the super middleweight division as he utilised his superior size advantages and heavy hands since his debut at 168lbs back in 2012. Smith would go on to claim British and European titles at super middleweight, before entering the much loved World Boxing Super Series in 2017. It was in this tournament where Smith really proved his worth, defeating Erik Skoglund, Nieky Holzken and George Groves to pick up the prized Muhammad Ali trophy and the WBA world super middleweight title. The Callum Smith reign atop the 168-pound mountain wasn’t as exceptional as many had expected it to be, however, as defences followed against a faded Hassan N’Dam, and John Ryder, where plenty of fans believed he was fortunate to have gotten the nod. His stint at super middleweight came to an end in December of 2020, when he was soundly beaten by pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez in Texas. What followed was a move north to 175lbs, and Smith has looked very impressive in his new weight division, winning consecutive fights against Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique. Now, he looks to win a world title in a second weight division, and the man he must conquer to gain that recognition is the monstrous punching WBC, WBO and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev.
Smith, however, is confident he has what it takes to spring what would be considered a sizable upset.
“He’s not invincible, and I’ve got a very good coach [Buddy McGirt] and a very good gameplan.” said Smith.
“I feel like defensively, I’m pretty solid myself. You’ve just got to be smart when you’re in there. You can’t mix fire with fire. You’ve got to be smart for when you do attack, and I’m very confident that I’ve got the skills, the ability and the gameplan to go in there and take his three belts off him and move forward.”
Beterbiev [19-0, 19 KO’s] is looking to continue his incredibly dominant surge through the light heavyweight division. An amateur standout, the Russian-born Canadian citizen won gold medals at the World and European Championships, as well as representing Russia at the Olympic Games before he turned professional in 2013. He has since stopped every single man who has had the [mis]fortunate of stepping inside the ring with him. The first of his three world titles came when he stopped German Enrico Kolling in 2017 to collect the IBF strap. He racked up a couple of defences, before what was the greatest victory of his career to date, systematically breaking down and dispatching WBC champion and previously unbeaten Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Philadelphia in 2019, in what was considered a true 50-50 encounter before the fight. The third belt arrived with an incredibly quick demolition job against Joe Smith Jr inside of two rounds in New York in the summer of 2022 to secure WBO glory. Beterbiev will be looking to defeat his second British opponent on the spin, as he bettered a valiant but overmatched Anthony Yarde in London this past January. If he can overcome the stylistically intriguing Smith examination, the path will become that much clearer for a mouth-watering Undisputed collision with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol heading into the second half of 2023 or beyond.