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Callum Smith in line to face the winner of Beterbiev and Yarde, says Eddie Hearn

One of Eddie Hearn's top light heavyweight charges, in his opinion, will soon be in a position to compete for three of the four 175-pound belts.

Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, insisted that he thinks Liverpool's Callum Smith will eventually be required by the WBC to fight the victor of the upcoming light heavyweight unification fight between Russia's Artur Beterbiev, the WBC, WBO, and IBF champion, and Britain's Anthony Yarde, the WBO mandatory challenger. On January 28, the two will face off in London's OVO Arena Wembley.

According to the WBC rankings, Smith is the top contender at light heavyweight. “Callum Smith has to fight the winner of that fight,” Hearn told iFL TV. “His next fight will be announced shortly, it will be in March. He is mandated to fight the winner of Yarde-Beterbiev from the WBC.”

A definite bout featuring one of Hearn's other clients, Russian Dmitry Bivol, the WBA champion, would have to be postponed once more if the WBC were to compel Smith to face the winner of Beterbiev-Yarde.

Additionally, Bivol's program for 2023 might already be in place. The Russian is anticipated to make a comeback in the spring before facing Canelo Alvarez again in the fall. Hearn's strategy appears to be to guarantee that Smith would have the opportunity to compete for the three belts before Bivol.

However, there can be a political component that makes settling a dispute between Smith and the Beterbiev-Yarde victor challenging. Both Beterbiev and Yarde are supported by Top Rank, and both are promoted by Queensberry. Neither organization does much business with Hearn's Matchroom, and the leaders of both have frequently made fun of Hearn. Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank, is infamous for saying last year that he would not permit Beterbiev to compete on a Hearn-promoted card.

Smith, 32, a former super middleweight champion, has won two straight fights at 175 pounds since losing by wide margin to Alvarez in a 168-pound title unification match in 2020.


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