By Danny Winterbottom
‘Everybody’s got plans….until they get hit’ Mike Tyson once famously said during his heavyweight reign of terror in the 1990s.
Although he’s no brooding menace a la Tyson in his heyday, Liverpool’s super middleweight sensation Callum Smith, one of four fighting brothers from the city, is making good on Iron Mike’s theory blasting his way to nine stoppage wins in 11 fights with six of those victories coming in the opening three minutes.
Welshman Tobias Webb was the latest fighter to have a ‘plan’ to halt the rise of the quiet, unassuming Smith when they clashed at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff in May but the 25 year old Swansea native was sent crashing to the canvas on four occasions in two hurtful rounds by the heavy hitting of the rampant Scouser.
Smith 11-0 (9 KOs), 24, is consistently named amongst the very best prospects in world boxing and on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool he has a chance to validate the claims of promoter Eddie Hearn when he takes a sizeable step up in competition against American Vladine Biosse 15-3 (7 KOs) in the maiden defence of his WBC International title.
Biosse, a southpaw, is originally from the Cape Verde Islands but now lives and fights out of Providence, Rhode Island, USA and is trained by Paul Andrade. The father of WBO 154lbs champion Demetrius, and has made the journey across the Atlantic with the newly crowned champion who is backing his gym mate to put a halt to Smith’s surge towards the world top 10 at 168lbs.
“Vladine is coming to Liverpool to put on a great show and is in the best shape of his career” Andrade claimed this week.
The three defeats on the record of Biosse have all come via stoppage but against opposition that the former outstanding amateur from Liverpool has yet to face in his career so far.
Russia’s Denis Grachev, a light heavyweight, halted Biosse in four rounds in 2011. Former WBC Youth World middleweight title challenger Marcus Upshaw won in eight rounds and in Biosse’s last outing in February, 18-0 American talent and the current WBA International champion J’Leon Love stopped him in 10.
But Smith, who is part of Joe Gallagher’s successful gym in Bolton, was in confident mood and fully expectant of victory number 12 in front of his home fans on Saturday night when BoxingScene spoke to him from his home on Tuesday.
“I’ve watched his (Biosse) last few fights when he has been winning and losing and Joe has identified the shots he thinks will work against him and we have been working on them in the gym and maintaining my weight” said the Liverpudlian.
“His record is decent on paper and he has been in with the likes of (J’Leon) Love and (Denis) Grachev and he has a good coach in Andrade but I firmly believe I will have too much for him on the night.”
When a fighter is winning too easily and routinely stopping opponents like Smith has at the level they are competing at it doesn’t take a world class matchmaker to see that they need to be moved up in class.
The usual boxing cliché of ‘He could do with getting some rounds under his belt’ is one that has been used many times already with the 6ft 3ins Smith but the fighter himself believes that on Saturday night he could well be taken beyond the sixth round, the furthest he is yet to travel.
“He (Biosse) was stopped in four by Grachev but is usually pretty durable so I don’t think he will be going over quite as easily as some of my opponents have done in the past.
“They might look at my record and think that I’m a fast starter having had quite a few first round KOs and hope to take me into the later rounds but I don’t go 100mph from the first bell” Smith said.
“A 10 round fight is a long and tough night’s work and he will be looking to take me to places I haven’t been before and the fans are probably asking themselves what I will be like late in a fight too.”
Callum’s rise up the rankings has taken a less traditional route than the one he would have preferred because of his eldest brother Paul holding the British title, forcing promoter Eddie Hearn to navigate an alternative path for the youngest of the fighting Smiths.
But with Paul looking to move into world class level with a September challenge to WBO champion Arthur Abraham in Germany (yet to be confirmed), the door may open for an all-Liverpool showdown between promotional stable mates and city rivals Callum and the unbeaten Rocky Fielding to clash for the British title in a mouth-watering collision as they both approach their primes.
“I’ve always said I want to follow my brothers and become a British champion” said Smith
“Paul holds the British title so it hasn’t been straightforward and that is why I have gone down the International route.
“Whether I become a British champion or not my ultimate aim is to be a world champion so whilst I’m waiting for that to happen why not get my ranking up with a governing body for future fights down the line?
“[Sakio] Bika is champion (WBC) at the minute but he faces Anthony Dirrell again soon and [George] Groves announced this week that he is chasing the winner. Eddie thinks I am about 18 months from fights with those guys but who knows what will happen in 18 months?”
And what of a potential clash with the unbeaten Oliver Harrison trained Rocky Fielding?
“If Paul gets his world title shot then the next two in line (for the British title) are me and Rocky but boxing is never that straightforward is it?
Never one to shy away from a huge all-British clash promoter Eddie Hearn, fresh from the Froch vs Groves 2 mega event at Wembley Stadium, may well keep Smith-Fielding on the backburner until one or both of them win major honours that will set up a highly popular clash in Liverpool.
“If we both keep winning then it makes sense down the line” said ‘Mundo’
“We are both from Liverpool and it might get to the stage where the fans are demanding that fight to happen and it can only get bigger and bigger if we both continue to win fights and look good.”