InstantBoxing.com’s Gary Mushrow caught up with unbeaten super middleweight sensation Callum Smith this week. We talked about his recently announced WBC title eliminator against Nikola Sjekloca, his next opponent Rafael Sosa Pintos in Leeds this weekend and his brother Paul’s controversial fight with Arthur Abraham for the WBO title last weekend. Here is what he had to say:
Talking on Nikola Sjekloca: “I’m very happy. We watched the kid because he boxed [Arthur] Abraham in his last fight. Joe has studied a lot of Abraham and it was him who said that he would be a good fight for me. Joe went over to Berlin to watch him when he fought Abraham; he’s a good fighter with only two losses – one to Abraham in a world title fight and one to Sakio Bika in a final eliminator so he has boxed a good level. It’s a massive step up in class for me but it’s a level I feel that I am ready for.”
Mentioning his by-pass of the British title scene and opponents: “No, there is just none available. Paul’s got it [British title] and hopefully Paul relinquishes it if a rematch happens anytime soon [with Abraham].
I would like to win the British title – it’s the title I’ve watched all my three brothers win and I’d like to make a bit of history and get the fourth, I don’t think four will ever be done again, never mind three.”
Regarding Pintos this Saturday in Leeds: “I always go out to impress; whether I win early or win on points it’s always been about the performance. Hopefully I can get the win and stay injury free, then I have a big fight there in November. I feel I have got to go and perform otherwise I may get marked up and get into a bit of a brawl and that could potentially affect the big fight in November.”
On how long he can remain at 168 pounds: “I do think I can remain at super-middle and I am confident I can win a world title here. I think I’ve got a long time left, I do it [weight] reasonably comfortable now and people think I lie when I say it but you’d only have to ask the people close to me in the gym – I don’t struggle at all.
I do believe I will mature more around the age of 26 but I do think I’ve got a good couple of years left at super-middle and I think in that time I can get a shot at the world title.”
On his brother Paul’s career best performance in against Abraham: ” The atmosphere was brilliant. The fans come out and were loud and I think it definitely helped him in the later rounds. I thought Paul was outstanding. I’ve watched him train and I knew the game plan he went in with and he stuck to it.
He showed he can stay disciplined for twelve rounds but he also showed a lot of heart in the middle rounds. Abraham thought he could try to bully him but he ended up bullying the bully and put Abraham on the back foot.
I thought he done a lot of things right and I had it very close. I don’t think it was a robbery but I think the score cards were terrible and I thought Paul just nicked it. Even if they had given it to Abraham by a round or two the other way then you couldn’t really moan but when they give it 11-1 then you think – what did he have to do to win?
Speaking on whether Paul can take positives from the defeat with regards to the public support he has been receiving: ” You only have to look at everyone on Twitter since the fight and the reaction he’s had. He lost to George Groves and James DeGale; he was fit for Groves and got caught with a good shot and he wasn’t fit for DeGale and he didn’t train properly, but we always knew a fit Paul Smith could hold his own with anybody. He had his best training camp and done everything that was asked of him – he was 100% going in and that was shown in his performance.
He proved a lot of people wrong. People thought he was just going to get wiped out in a few rounds and he held his own every round for the full twelve rounds. All of the rounds were close and competitive against a big strong super middleweight in Arthur Abraham and I think he’s come out with a lot more fans then he went in with.
Pressed jokingly on whether he was itching to get in there and fight Abraham himself: “Yeah not half! Definitely. As I say they are the big fights that I want to be in especially with it being in my weight division. I don’t know how long Abraham has got left but he will always be there and there about and maybe it could happen in the future.
I was around Paul for the full week and I was around Kell Brook for the full week of his world title fight in L.A and it does make you realize where you want to be in the sport and it gives you that extra drive.”