CALLUM SMITH is patiently waiting for his shot at a world title. He is in the mandatory position for Badou Jack’s WBC super-middleweight but expects to have to wait until after the American has a unification clash with IBF champion James DeGale,
Smith still wants to remain active in the mean time. “I believe if I’m good enough to beat Badou Jack or James DeGale then I should be good enough to remain undefeated in the meantime, regardless of who I fight. Whoever they give me I’ll fight. I just want to make sure I use the training camps for the fights to keep improving so by the time I do get my shot I’m good enough to win it,” he tells Boxing News.
Callum does think that he is ultimately on a collision course with DeGale. “I think DeGale’s the better fighter,” he said of the Jack fight. “I do think DeGale’s the better man out of the two of them and I do think hopefully he will raise his game a bit. I don’t know whether he underestimated [Porky] Medina or what, but if DeGale starts the way he did and can keep it up then I do think he’s the better man and will beat Jack.”
Smith is undefeated and it only took him a round to win both the British and the European super-middleweight titles. “I don’t get too emotionally involved in it. I’m going for a fight. I enjoy more the thinking side of outsmarting someone. I’m not one of them who loves a tear up or a street fight. I think I just cope with nerves well and I know it’s just a job. I just believe in my own ability. I know that I am good enough to win, whoever’s in the other corner but the minute I’m in the ring I can’t wait to get out,” he said.
Smith has gained plenty of plaudits himself over the course of his 20 professional fights. Callum himself refuses to get too carried away with the reputation he’s acquiring. “I’m the youngest of four boxing brothers and I’ve been around boxing for a long time and I’ve seen good people coming through and getting all the praise, David Price is a good friend of the family and he was coming through knocking everyone out, he was talked as the next big thing, heavyweight world champion and the best thing since sliced bread and he had a couple of losses on the bounce and the same people that were giving him all this praise were slating him and are still slating him now. It’s a bit unfair but it’s just typical. Boxing supporters are fickle,” he said.
“I kind of knew in the back of my mind one bad performance and the same people who are praising me will be the first to jump on me and give me criticism. Every boxer does have bad days so no matter how good I’m doing, I’m never as good as I think I am or other people think I am. I’ve always got stuff to improve on. In the gym, I can spar very good one day and I can spar bad the next. I’m not by far the finished article and I do know I need to improve to get to where I want to be. I’m in the gym with world champions, I’m not walking around thinking I’m the best thing.”
Some of the highest praise for him has come from none other than Nigel Benn. “I was buzzing reading it and then he finished off with ‘he destroys Golovkin at 168lbs’ and I thought why have you gone and said that! 90% of the interview I was happy with,” Callum laughed, adding, “I’m glad he’s not my matchmaker.”
Smith cautions, “It’s alright getting talked about as future this or future that but I’ve still got to deliver.”