Ryder: 'Timing perfect' for Smith to dethrone Beterbiev

The “perfect timing” will lead to Callum Smith defeating Artur Beterbiev, according to John Ryder.

Smith on Saturday challenges Beterbiev at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada for the Russian’s IBF, WBC and WBO light heavyweight titles.

They fight five months later than originally scheduled, owing to a postponement from August 2023 on account of Beterbiev suffering an infection in his jaw that required surgery.

Smith would have ended a year’s inactivity had they fought when originally scheduled; Beterbiev will turn 39 eight days after his latest fight.

It will have been little under a year since Beterbiev was involved in his toughest fight when defeating, in eight bruising rounds, Anthony Yarde, but while his latest title defence could be determined by which of his age or Smith’s inactivity proves more damaging to either fighter, Ryder told ProBox TV: “I fancy Callum to do it. It’s great timing.

“Beterbiev’s obviously a great fighter. He pulls results out the bag. But this injury’s not a good sign for Beterbiev, so for Callum to go and become a two-weight world champion, the timing’s perfect.

“I think he can do both. He can go in there, knock him out. I [also] think he can outbox him. I think if he goes in there with the intention just to try and knock him out, he’ll come unstuck. But if he goes out there and boxes, he can come away with the win.

“He’s very relaxed. He doesn’t get flustered – only when I fought him. He’s very relaxed. He’s a good fighter. He’s rangy. He’s big. He’s fit, and he’s effective at what he does, so I think he can really cause an upset.”

Ryder fights Mexico’s Jaime Munguia at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on January 27. He produced one of his finest performances to give Smith one of his toughest fights in November 2019, when he controversially lost via a unanimous decision.

“There’s always gonna be them sour grapes because I believe I won that night, but he’s a very good fighter,” he continued. “I was a fan of his before I was ever a rival, because I was the weight below for a long time. 

“He burst on to the scene, really, with great wins. He’s been a great fighter. He’s got that concussive power; got some devastating knockouts, and I think it’ll be enough when he does fight Beterbiev.”