CALLUM SMITH must travel to the US for his shot at the vacant WBC super-middleweight title against Anthony Dirrell after the American’s team won purse bids for the fight over the weekend.
TGB Promotions won with a bid of $1.6m despite Smith’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, previously expressing his eagerness to stage the fight in Callum’s hometown of Liverpool.
Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, also hoped his man would box for his first world title at home.
“We’ve not got a date or venue yet but I’m really gutted we didn’t get home advantage. I think home advantage is massive in this fight. We’ve got to go and win the title on the road,” he told Boxing News.
“I just thought of the Echo Arena packed to the rafters and that atmosphere for Callum.”
Smith last fought in December when he stopped Luke Blackledge inside 10 rounds to retain his British title. He has since vacated that belt as his world title opportunity looms.
Unbeaten Smith was installed as WBC mandatory last year and would have been granted a shot at the James DeGale-Badou Jack winner. However after those two battled to a draw in January, Jack vacated the WBC title.
The sanctioning organisation then ordered negotiations between Smith and Dirrell, a former holder of the belt who lost it to Jack.
“Callum’s just so laid back, that’s his thing. He’s really looking forward to it so we’re just waiting on the date and venue. It’s looking like May time, the end of May, beginning of June,” Gallagher continued.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. There’s a bounce in his step, he’s been in the gym ticking over all the time. Height wise, reach wise, they’re well-matched. It’s a fascinating fight.”
Dirrell last fought in January when he forced Norbert Nemesapati to retire after six rounds – just as Smith had done last year.
Dirrell won the WBC title in 2014 by outpointing Sakio Bika, though lost it to Jack in his first defence.
“He’s a great fighter. People read too much into the Badou Jack loss, but look at what Badou Jack’s gone on to do,” Gallagher said of Dirrell.
“We were in LA when he beat Sakio Bika, who was trying to rough him up, but Dirrell wasn’t having any of it. There’s plenty of substance and backbone in Dirrell.
“Everyone’s talked about Callum and said he can do this and he can do that. He’s got the potential, now he’s got the opportunity.”