Welcome to a new weekly segment called ‘On The Rise’ where I profile up and coming British talents including things such as interviews, videos, quotes, future opponents and much more.
Today we start with a young Liverpudlian super middleweight called Callum Smith. The 25 year old is the youngest of 4 brothers, Paul, Stephen and Liam who are all also professional boxers. Callum boasts a record of 18-0-0 winning 13 by knockout, but Im going to start from the beginning at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Smith boxed in the welterweight division and won a silver medal after a defeat to Patrick Gallagher in the final, but he used this small triumph, despite defeat, to motivate himself and to challenge himself further in the boxing world.
Smith had to overcome another cruel disappointment 2 years after the commonwealth games in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 olympic games at light-heavyweight. At the final qualifying tournament, Smith lost 16:14 to Vatan Huseynli where a win would have sealed his place in the GB team for the 2012 olympics. Despite this, Smith still had a chance to qualify for one of the 3 places as the semi-finalist who lost to the eventual winner would qualify, but Huseynli lost to Bahram Muzaffer meaning Smith couldn’t qualify for a place. Controversially, the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) decided they could include an invitational place at the tournament, Smith was shortlisted but the place was given too someone Smith had beaten previously in a very convincing fashion, Bosko Draskovic.
The young now super-middleweight didn’t let this disappointment deter him from going into professional boxing training under the same man as his siblings, Joe Gallagher, who also trains former world champion Scott Quigg.
Smith made his professional debut in late 2012 on the undercard of Carl Froch v Yusaf Mack, winning the bout on points after 4 rounds. ‘Mundo’ continued to beat whoever was in his way, often fighting on undercards of other top British fighters such as world champion Carl Frampton, former world champion Carl Froch and current super-middleweight contender George Groves. Callum Smith has openly said he would love to fight against the likes of Froch and Groves after seeing them sell out Wembley Stadium in what was their second world title fight.
Callum faced his most difficult test to date in late 2015 against rival super-middleweight Rocky Fielding. Many predicted this would be a close fight, which was for the British title and would spark a rivalry for many years to come but ‘Mundo’ won via TKO in the first round, cementing his place as the top British super-middleweight on the rise.
Now in 2016, Smith is ranked No.1 with the WBC and faces Hadillah Mohoumadi in an eliminator for Badou Jack’s WBC world title. The fight which takes place this Saturday in Liverpool will hopefully see the young man show his qualities and beat Mohoumadi, a man who has previously lost to James DeGale, another British world champion. Should Callum win, it will hopefully set up a bout with the Swede Jack who in his last fight beat Smith’s domestic rival George Groves via split decision at the MGM Grand.
Should Smith win the WBC world super-middleweight title later this year or in early 2017, it would set up the potential for huge domestic clashes against the likes of IBF champion James DeGale or previous WBC contender Groves.
Callum spoke to The Guardian in 2014 about the possibility of future fights with domestic rivals.
“I’d like to win a British title this year and once I’ve done that then I’ll move past domestic level and move towards the likes of Froch, Groves and [James] DeGale.
“This time next year Froch will probably be retired but Groves and DeGale are only young and will still be at world level by the time I get there. At the stage I’m at in my career I’m doing exactly the same as what they did, if not better.” – Callum Smith, 2014
Despite the fact Froch has retired, Groves and DeGale are at world level even if one can never seem to get over the final hurdle. The future is bright for young Callum Smith and he has plenty of opportunities providing he boxes smart and takes his chance when he gets his title fight.
I’ll leave you with a video of Smith’s first round knockout of Patrick Mendy (definitely not because i can’t find a video of him knocking out Rocky Fielding) in what was his 8th professional fight, which really showcases the power this young British super-middleweight has, even if it was 3 years ago in 2013.