Former super middleweight champion Callum Smith is gearing up for what he considers a defining moment in his career as he prepares for a shot at WBC, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. The long-awaited clash, initially scheduled for last summer, was delayed due to Beterbiev's jaw infection and is now set to take place in Quebec City on January 13th.
Despite concerns about inactivity, especially given Smith's limited appearances since his 2020 loss to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, the Liverpudlian is undeterred. Moving up to the light heavyweight division, Smith secured knockout victories against Gilbert Castillo Rivera and Mathieu Bauderlique.
At 33 years old and with 11 years of professional experience, Smith remains confident in his ability to prepare for significant fights. Having studied Beterbiev for years, Smith believes he knows how to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of the Canada-adopted Russian champion.
In an interview with Boxing Social, Smith expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming title bout, stating,
"It’s exactly what I’m in boxing for, to win world titles. I get to win three if I win this fight. I’ve known of Artur Beterbiev for a long time. I know his style, and I feel it matches up pretty well with mine."
Acknowledging Beterbiev's fearsome reputation with a 100% knockout ratio, Smith sees vulnerabilities in the champion's record. Noting instances where Beterbiev has been hurt, including a 2018 knockdown by Callum Johnson and a challenging bout with Anthony Yarde in January, Smith is confident in his ability to not just hurt but finish the unbeaten champion.
"People make out he’s this beast. 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 remarked. "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."
As the anticipation builds for the January 13th clash, Smith's confidence sets the stage for an electrifying showdown for light heavyweight supremacy.