Callum Smith’s chance to become a two-weight world champion was postponed by a staggering five months due to IBF, WBO and WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev requiring jaw surgery.
The bout originally scheduled for August 19 finds itself stamped in for January 13, and moved from Montreal to Quebec City, for now.
It will leave both men in a state of inactivity by the time the bell rings in Canada early next year!
Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) would have not graced the squared-circle just shy of a year. His last victim being Anthony Yarde, scoring an eighth round knockout over the London man on British shores, maintaining his 100 percent KO ratio.
Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) will be in an even more precarious position. His last fight came against Mathieu Bauderlique in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia claiming a fourth round stoppage on the Oleksandr Usyk Vs Anthony Joshua 2 bill in August of 2022. It will have been a 17 month layoff for the former super middleweight king by the time January 13 comes around.
“You know, it just gives us more time to get the tools sharpened.” Smith’s trainer, Buddy McGirt said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I’m a big believer in that everything happens for a reason. It just gives us more time to prepare. We are continuing to work on what we were working on before, that’s all.
“Shit happens, it is just boxing man. Listen, [Muhammad] Ali was informed when he was fighting in Zaire when he got cut. They all had to stay in Zaire while his cut healed. It could be worse, at least we are home getting prepared than stuck somewhere. The president was saying nobody is going nowhere until they got the fight.”
The ugly term ‘tune-up’ has been discussed in various media outlets when Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been posed with the question. In this case, it could be largely forgiven due to circumstances.
“No, I don’t want to do it, I don’t know anything about it myself, you got to ask Paul [Smith].” McGirt continued pointing to Smith’s oldest brother sitting beside him.
“You would have to ask his promoter that.” Smith answered. “You could argue he needs a tune-up due to the inactivity, but by the time they both get in the ring they both would have had a long period outside the ring. I think it will affect a 39 year old more than a 33 year old personally. He is still fresh, the layoff could be a blessing in disguise.”
“He is 39?” McGirt asked. “I don’t look too much at his age, a lot of older fighters have proven people wrong. I’m just looking at the fighters, I know Callum is the better fighter. His goal is to win the light heavyweight title, so we gotta go get it done. We will then go to cruiserweight, win all the titles there and call it a day. Why not, he is big enough.”