If tough Liverpudlian Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) is going to become a world champion, he is going to have to do it the hard way.
After previously indicating that he had a great desire for the contest to take place in Smith’s hometown of Liverpool, it was revealed on Monday that despite tabling a $1.2 million (£975,000) bid, promoter Eddie Hearn was defeated in the purse bids by TGB promotions. Therefore, it appears inevitable that Smith will have to travel to America to take on tough opponent Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs).
The two highly rated super-middleweights will fight for the WBC title that was vacated by Dirrell’s former conquerer Badou Jack, who after a gruelling draw with James Degale has opted to further his career at light heavyweight.
Smith is undefeated in his 22 fight professional career and is the current British super-middleweight champion. Nevertheless, the hard hitting former world champion Dirrell will be by far the toughest competitor that Smith has shared a ring with.
After dropping the title in an excruciatingly close majority decision loss against Jack in April 2015, the hard hitting Michigan fighter has been on a mission to regain his championship, following up a unanimous decision victory over Marco Antonio Rubio with stoppage victories over Caleb Traux and Norbert Nemesapati.
On the other hand, Smith has looked blistering whilst competing on a domestic level, earning 17 of his 22 victories inside the scheduled distance. But, despite earning the WBC silver title late in 2016 with an impressive stoppage victory over Dirrel’s old foe, Nemesapati, Smith’s matchup with Dirrell will be the most enlightening piece of evidence as to whether the most youthful of the Smith brothers can cut it with the world’s elite fighters.
It is understandable that the prospect of being forced to travel to Dirrell’s backyard to win the world title may seem like a setback for Smith, however it also represents a tremendous opportunity for the 26 year old. If the Liverpudlian can achieve a monumental victory across the pond, he won’t only become a world champion, he will also see his stock rise immensely as he announces himself as one of boxing’s most exciting prospects.
At one time Smith had hoped on challenging Degale for the WBC strap, however those ambitions diminished when the olympian failed to take the strap away from Jack in January. Nonetheless, if he can succeed where Degale came up short in capturing the WBC title, the tantalising prospect of a domestic unification fight between Smith and Degale starts to become incredibly realistic.