Callum Smith believes he has the finishing ability to stop Artur Beterbiev.

The former super middleweight champion is in the midst of preparations for his delayed mandatory shot at the WBC, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.

The fight was initially scheduled to take place last summer but was postponed after Beterbiev picked up a serious bone infection in his jaw. The pair will eventually meet in Quebec City on January 13th.

Much is made of Beterbiev’s inactivity but Smith has actually been more inactive than the champion in recent years, appearing only twice since suffering the only loss of his career; a decision defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a 168lb unification fight back in 2020. He moved up to the light heavyweight following the loss and has knocked out Gilbert Castillo Rivera and Mathieu Bauderlique.

The inactivity doesn’t appear to bother Smith. At 33 years old and having been a professional for 11 years, the Liverpudlian knows his body and knows exactly how to prepare for major fights. He has been studying Beterbiev for years and believes he knows how to upset the Canada-adopted Russian. 

“It’s an exciting fight. It’s exactly what I’m in boxing for, to win world titles,” Smith told Boxing Social. “I get to win three if I win this fight. It’s a huge fight for me but it’s a fight I’ve always liked. I’ve known of Artur Beterbiev for a long time. I know his style and I feel it matches up pretty well with mine. I think from a neutral view it’s a pretty exciting fight but I’m fully confident of going out there, coming out on top and taking his belts off him.”

The only current world champion to have a 100% knockout ratio, unbeaten Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KO’s) remains a fearsome proposition but the 38-year-old has been plagued by injuries and has been making the 175lb weight limit since beating Tavoris Cloud back in 2014.

He has also shown signs of vulnerability. Callum Johnson dropped him in the opening round of their fight in 2018 and Anthony Yarde dragged him into an action packed war in January. Beterbiev eventually won both fights by stoppage but Smith believes that whereas his British rivals could hurt Beterbiev, he has the ability to finish him. 

“People make out he’s this beast. Part of him is, 19 fights with 19 knockouts. He’s got a great record and his achievements speak for themselves but he has been hurt twice and he does get hit quite a bit,” Smith said. “He’s not an elusive, hard to hit fighter. I do see ways in which I believe I can win. If somebody’s there for me to hit, I definitely believe I can hurt them and when I’ve seen other fighters hurt them, I definitely believe I can do the same.

“I’m going over there with the full belief that if I catch him, I hurt him and if I hurt him I believe I can get rid of him.”