Callum Smith (15-0, 11KO’s) proved his credentials this evening with a big step up, winning a twelve round decision over tough super middleweight contender Nikola Sjekloca (28-3, 8KO’s).
Smith 24, put in a very disciplined performance against the former world title challenger who has only been beaten himself by current and former world champions Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika respectively. Picking his shots nicely with hooks to the body and uppercuts up close, Smith looked close to hurting his foe on several occassions, but the savvy Sjekloca had enough about him to see out the bell each time.
Smith was caught a few times on the end of a jab during the contest, maybe serving as a reminder he was in a fight with a live opponent and as such giving him and trainer Joe Gallagher something to think about between now and his next contest in the new year. Going the twelve rounds for the first time in his career will have done Smith no end of good, and the victory will come as a nice gift to the Smith family after a torrid period in which they lost their beloved Nan early last week.
The bout was a nice test for Smith at world level; whilst Sjekloca could take everything the Liverpool native gave him, he never looked to trouble the youngest of the Smith fighting family, that fact was reflected in score cards tabled of 120-108, 118-111 and 118-110.
With the victory, Smith moves higher up the WBC rankings at 168 pounds with a final eliminator likely to be called sometime early next year.