By Elliot Foster
Eddie Hearn believes the British super middleweight title showdown between Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding is one the biggest domestic clashes of the year.
The Matchroom chief, who promotes both men, has said that he “will be wincing” whenever either of his charges are hit on Saturday night at Liverpool's Echo Arena, live on Sky Sports.
Hearn made the highly anticipated super bantamweight unification world title fight between Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton earlier in the week, alongside Barry McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions, but he refused to be drawn on that as he looked ahead to one of the most eagerly awaited local derbies in recent memory.
“It’s a local derby, there’s a rivalry between the two fighters, the trainers and the families and we have about 40 tickets left,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. "So the atmosphere is going to be really special as 10,000 punters watch two of the best face each other in their home city.
“Most of all, I think it’s going to be a really good fight. Take away the fact that they’re both Scousers, that they’re both from Liverpool; if one was from Liverpool and one was from London, it would still be a domestic fight of the year between two of the best super middleweights in the world.
“It just so happens that they’re both from Liverpool and that adds extra spice to the fight.”
With the rivalry between the camps coming from left field in the shape of the families and fans, rather than the fighters themselves, there has been a tasteful build-up to the clash, which is more than can be said for the last domestic showdown in the city between Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly 12 months ago.
The respective trainers, Joe Gallagher and Oliver Harrison, have plenty to say in the lead-up to the sell-out occasion, but that hasn’t hindered the preparation of either fighter.
“Come fight night, everything will go out the window,” said Hearn, “but I think it’s important that both fighters listen to their trainers and ultimately execute the game plan that has been worked on in the gym.
“But the loser of the fight, who will more than likely be the first man I go to in the ring after the fight, still has a number of options. This will be by no means the end of their career. In fact, the profile of this fight means that their career will go to another level.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to lose the fight badly, I don’t think it’s going to be a one-sided fight.
“We spoke to a number of influential people in the game and they all said that it would be a tough one to call. The majority went with Callum, but I give Rocky a lot more chance in this fight than a lot of people.
“I believe that there’s something in him that really wants to prove a point. Like, I think he knows that most people are backing Callum to win and that’s driven him on in [training].
“I think he’s really live in this fight.”
Both fighters have behaved exemplarily in the six weeks since this fight was announced and Hearn believes that it will be the same way now, during and after the pair have battled for Smith’s WBC Silver and the vacant British titles.
“I don’t think Rocky or Callum are the type to start shouting their mouths off. They’re two good lads who know that they’re role models and I’m pleased with the way they’ve conducted themselves in the build-up and with how everything has gone.
“On Saturday, it’ll be two Scousers, in Liverpool, two super middleweights, a British title, a WBC Silver title, a world ranking and 10,000 fans.
“May the best man win.”
Elliot Foster is part of the UK Boxing Scene team. Follow him on Twitter @FreelanceFoz