CALLUM SMITH will unleash months of frustration at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night live on Sky Sports – and says another win will prove he’s ready for a massive fight this summer.
Smith has been out for nearly six months with a hand injury following his comprehensive win over former World title challenger Nikola Sjekloca in November in Liverpool in a third defence of his WBC International Super Middleweight title.
The 25 year old is ranked at four in the WBC and will announce a big fight in the coming weeks in his hometown in June, and Smith believes victories in Birmingham and on a big night in Merseyside this summer will lead to him closing in on a World title shot.
“All being well I will be out again in Liverpool in a big fight,” said Smith. “The opponent is better than anybody I have fought previously and I think it is another good step up from Sjekloca. It is a good fight and it is the kind of fight I want to be involved in. I do believe I can become a World champion and I am not going to get there by beating people I am expected to beat comfortably. I have to test myself and to improve you do have to test yourself. I think it is the perfect fight at the right time and I will be looking to put in another good performance and do a job on him.
“My hand had been bothering me since July and it swelled after the Sjekloca fight. I had a slight tear in my tendon but it is fine now and I am all ready to go.
“I had the same injury previously in my left hand but this wasn’t as bad. I came back after my first hand operation in April last year and had six fights in seven months so after the Sjekloca fight I would have had a rest anyway; not for as long as it has turned out but I would have had a rest. I’d have liked to have boxed in February or March rather than having to wait until May.
“It was a big step up against Sjekloca, he had only lost two out of 28 fights and they were both to World champions; Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika. He was better than anybody I had boxed previously and people thought it would be a 50/50 fight so to come through, and win the way I did – I won every round on one scorecard – was a good statement to make.”
Smith’s clash with Olegs Fedetovs is part of a star-studded line-up in Birmingham as Olympic Gold medal hero Anthony Joshua MBE faces South American champion Rafael Zumbano Love and all-action Stourbridge youngster Sam Eggington’s first major title shot as he faces Joseph Lamptey for the vacant Commonwealth Welterweight title vacated by Frankie Gavin.
World-rated Birmingham fighters Kal Yafai and Matthew Macklin are in action, Joshua’s fellow Olympic gold medal winner Luke Campbell MBE fights for the 11th time in the paid ranks, Kal’s unbeaten brother Gamal will continue his rise in the pro ranks and Midlands fighters Lennox Clarke, Dan Breeze, Michael Rooney and Jordan Cooke all taste action.
It’s a huge night of boxing on Sky Sports with the coverage of the big fight night in the second city joined by two massive fights from Hidalgo, Texas as WBA Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell meets WBO king Tomoki Kameda and former two-weight World champion Ricky Burns tackles unbeaten former Lightweight World champion Omar Figueroa.