By Barry Holbrook: Former WBA 168-lb champion Callum Smith will be looking to force unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev to face him when he battles Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KOs) next Saturday, August 20th in a WBC 175-lb title eliminator at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.
It’s a tall order for Callum to beat Beterbiev, considering this guy is powerful, and on a roll right now.
Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) will be making his second appearance at 175 against France’s Bauderlique on the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk II card on DAZN PPV.
Callum, 32, believes he’s got the talent to defeat IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs), and he’s anxious to show it.
Many boxing fans gave up on the 6’3″ Smith after his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in December 2020. The fight wasn’t even remotely close, as Callum spent most of the time with his back against the ropes.
“I answered them all pretty well. I showed them that I carry my power up at 175,” said Callum Smith to Matchroom Boxing. “It wasn’t just about the win. It was the way I won. I kind of announced myself to the division. I believe I’m here to be a force, and I believe I can become a world champion.
“I feel like I’m getting better and better as the weeks go by. He’s [Bauderlique] a good fighter, but so am I. I believe I’m the better inside fighter as well.
“They [southpaws] don’t bother me too much. Things are a little more awkward. I don’t want to sit around and wait and hope to get a voluntary. I want to force myself into a position where the champion has to fight me.
“If I win this fight, Beterbiev will have to fight me at some point in the very near future. He’s got three belts as well. So it could be a smash & grab and get three for the price of one.
“He’s [Beterbiev] very good and heavy-handed, but he’s not invincible. He’s been put over twice as a professional. Once you see a little weakness, it gives you belief he is beatable.
“I’m probably coming into my best years, and he’s leaving his. I pushed for the chance to fight him, and it’s a fight I believe I win,” said Callum about Beterbiev.