Hopefully age catches up with Artur Beterbiev says title challenger’s brother

Former world super-featherweight title contender Stephen Smith is building a stable of professional fighters, but the Liverpool star heads to Quebec this week to watch younger brother Callum take on Artur Beterbiev.

Paul and Stephen Smith are both retired, and both fought for world crowns. Liam and Callum are still boxing and both have held world championships.

Between them, the four brothers have made plenty of boxing history.

Stephen was an amateur star who was tipped for the top when he turned pro but he last fought in 2019 and walked away with a record of 28 wins against four losses.

Because of the debut of one of his boxers, Ste Clarke, Stephen flies to Quebec later than the others. Callum, Liam and Paul all travelled late last week, but Smith has seen plenty of Callum’s preparations in the gym, with trainer Buddy McGirt, and Stephen’s encouraged by what he sees.

“Good you know,” Stephen said, when asked how Callum has been looking. “He’s in very good shape, I would like to think that it’s a fight that suits him. He’s got the opportunity to fight and he’s got to take them. He does know it’s a dangerous fight when you’re in with a puncher like [Artur] Beterbiev, but I think… don’t underestimate Callum’s power and Callum’s skillset to make opportunities, and he’s going to capitalise on it.”

Beterbiev is 19-0 with 19 wins by stoppage. Smith is 29-1 with 21 stoppages, having previously ruled the roost at 168lbs.  

Smith has boxed twice at light-heavyweight, but both have struggled with inactivity. Smith has not boxed in 17 months, Beterbiev in 12. The fight had been set for August, but Beterbiev suffered with a jaw infection and the fight was put back.

There are some who contend the delay suits the challenger from England more than the 38-year-old champion.

“Yeah of course, I was saying about myself that you can’t beat time,” Stephen said, talking about his own decision to retire. “I think it catches up with everyone. I don’t want to say too much, but unfortunately for Callum, if Callum goes and wipes the floor with him [Beterbiev], they’re going to be [saying], ‘He [Beterbiev] got old’. You’re always going to have the cynics who are going to say the negativity because of his age. But it’s going to catch up with him one day, so hopefully for us it’s on this night against Callum, and Callum comes away with the belts.”