By Terence Dooley
Liverpool’s Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) believes that he is the best Super middleweight in the world and hopes to prove it against London-based WBA World titlist George Groves (28-3, 20 early) when the two meet in the WBSS 168lb final later this year.
Although there is strong talk that the event will be contested abroad, with Jeddah, Saudi Arabia being mooted, Smith is still unsure whether Groves will recover from the dislocated shoulder he picked up when out-pointing Chris Eubank Jr. in February and the 28-year-old Liverpudlian is equally prepared to meet Eubank should he step in to replace Groves.
“You would have thought that two Brits in a big domestic fight would fight in Britain, but they are calling the tournament the Champions League of boxing and if you look at it that way then it's understandable,” said Smith when speaking to the Liverpool Echo about the possible venue and opponent.
“The Champions League final venue is set no matter who is in it and I think they're taking the same approach with this. We can scream and moan about it but it's not really going to change. I can't really knock them because they've been great for me so far, pushing the fight back to give George every chance and even more so giving me the fight that I wanted.”
He added: “There are still some doubts in the back of my mind that George may not make the date, but they've given him every chance and there's nothing that we can do if he doesn't make it this time. What we do know is that if George doesn't make it then it'll be Chris Eubank Jr that I'll box.”
Either way, Smith wants to get his hands on the Muhammad Ali trophy and then use the WBSS as a springboard for a series of big showdowns at Super middle in much the way that Carl Froch and Andre Ward emerged from the Super Six and took on a host of big-name opponents.
The undefeated contender earned his place in the final by decisioning Erik Skoglund in September then earning the same result over Nieky Holzken in February. The brace of wins and rounds in the bank have given him renewed confidence that he will be the last man standing at the end of the tournament.
“Joe [Gallagher] and I will work towards the best and fittest George Groves possible and then I want big unification fights with the likes of David Benavidez or even another all-British clash with [James] DeGale,” he said.
“I want to go on to prove that I'm the best super-middleweight in the world without questions and I've got to start by beating George Groves.”
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