By Elliot Foster
Callum Smith is set for another interim fight before his shot at a world title.
The Liverpudlian, 26, is the number one contender to Badou Jack’s WBC super-middleweight title.
But Smith, 21-0 (16 KOs), looks like he will have another warm-up before being thrown in at the deep end after the aforementioned Jack secured a unification fight.
American-based Swede Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) will take on IBF ruler James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) at a venue to be confirmed in the United States on January 14, exclusively live on Showtime in the States and Sky Sports in the UK, with the understanding that the winner will be forced to face ‘Mundo’ within 90 days.
WBC Silver champion Smith was last in action on September 10 at London’s O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office, as part of the undercard to Gennady Golovkin’s successful world middleweight title defence against IBF welterweight king Kell Brook.
And Boxing Scene understands that the undefeated contender, who ousted the challenge of game Hungarian Norbert Nemesapati inside seven rounds on that aforementioned September date, will box on the same platform in his next fight.
British and European champion Smith is believed to have been handed a spot on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s next IBF heavyweight world title defence, against Eric Molina, on December 10 at Manchester Arena.
There is an agreement in place for Smith to defend his Lonsdale belt against mandatory challenger Luke Blackledge on a date and at a venue to be advised by promoter Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom, who won the bids.
‘Scene has been informed that the fight will land on the next Joshua bill, having previously been set for November 26, which was the original date of Joshua’s return, with Smith’s gym-mates Marcus Morrison (13-0, 10 KOs) and Commonwealth light-heavyweight ruler Callum Johnson (16-0, 11 KOs) also forming part of the supporting cast alongside Scott Quigg, the former Super WBA super-bantamweight champion, who is making his return from injury, up at featherweight in a world title eliminator, following defeat to Carl Frampton in February.
Blackledge (21-2-2, 7 KOs) was in action in Bolton in May, live on BoxNation, when he knocked out Ishmael Tetteh of Ghana inside five rounds to retain his Commonwealth title at 168lbs, before grinding out a six-round points win at the same venue on the same channel on October 22.
The 26-year-old, who is a former custodian of the WBC International Silver belt at the weight, shares a common opponent with Smith in the shape of Rocky Fielding.
Smith stopped Fielding inside a round to win the vacant British belt in Liverpool last November and Fielding inflicted the same damage on Blackledge when the pair contested the vacant Commonwealth belt in Manchester two years earlier.
Blackledge has since gone on an eight-fight winning streak.
Although no official confirmation of the fight between Smith and Blackledge has yet been released, further details are expected to be revealed in due course.
Promoter Eddie Hearn told Kugan Cassius of iFL TV in a recent interview that he would look to place this fight on the Joshua-Molina bill, while Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher has hinted that the fight would take place “before Christmas.”
Already announced for the Joshua-Molina bill, Dillian Whyte will defend his British heavyweight title against former European champion and world title challenger Dereck Chisora in an official eliminator for the WBC belt and Kal Yafai bids to become Birmingham’s first world champion as he takes on WBA flyweight king Luis Concepcion of Panama.
There is a second outing for Irish amateur star Katie Taylor, who signed professional terms with Hearn last month, Hosea Burton defends his British light-heavyweight title in a rescheduled clash against Frank Buglioni and Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs), Matchroom’s latest signing, is also set for action on the card, but the undefeated Cuban first faces Malik Scott (38-2-1, 13 KOs), with the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight crown at stake, on November 12 at the Salle des Étoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco, live on Sky Sports in the UK and HBO in the States.