SUPER-middleweight prospect Mickey Ellison (4-1) believes that sparring partner Callum Smith (23-0) will be the one to win the World Boxing Super Series and become boxing’s next big star.
Ellison, signed to VIP Promotions, sparred with “Mundo” in preparation for his fifth pro bout at the Manchester Arena on September 23.
After sharing the ring with the youngest of four fighting Smith brothers from Liverpool during his last training camp, he adamantly backs him to win the entire tournament.
He said: “I just think he’s too big and too strong for everyone else in the WBSS. I mean, he’s massive for a super-middle, you should see the size of him!
“He has everything in his locker, he can punch, he can fight, he can box, he’s relaxed and smooth, and his boxing speaks for itself. He doesn’t need to get into his opponent’s head like Eubank and Groves often try to do. There’s no need for mind games with Callum.
“He’s outstanding at everything he does, he can fight on the outside or on the inside, and the level of class when I sparred him is like nothing else I’ve ever encountered. He can go up and down in the gears whenever he wants to, he dictates the pace and controls the action.”
“Mundo” kicked off the super-middleweight competition on Saturday September 16, defeating fellow unbeaten fighter Erik Skoglund (26-1) at the Echo Arena in his home town via unanimous decision – 116-111, 117-110, 117-111.
It was an entertaining start to the super-middleweight’s series that saw the unbeaten Swede floored in the penultimate round, Smith dusting off his nine-month hiatus handily.
Smith, who gave up a shot at the WBC world title to challenge for the Muhammad Ali trophy, is one of four British fighters in the eight-man competition and the No.2 seed for the tournament behind WBA Super champion George Groves.
With rivals Chris Eubank Jr and No.1 seed George Groves in action on October 7 and 14 respectively, Smith was the first to lay down a marker and move into the semi-finals, picking up the WBC Diamond belt in the process.
“He beat Skoglund comfortably and even floored him in the 11th,” Ellison continued. “Everyone underestimated the Swedish boxer but I don’t know why because he came into the fight unbeaten and was a top amateur with a record of 78-35-1, so he can clearly box.
“I think he’ll go on to do something in boxing because there’s no shame in losing to Smith. It can only give him more exposure and valuable experience. Just being in that tournament is an achievement because to be picked means that you’re an elite-level boxer.”
Next up is the second of the four quarter-finals featuring IBO titlist Chris Eubank Jr (23-1) against unbeaten Avni Yildirim (16-0) on October 7th in Stuttgart.
The winner will meet either WBA Super champion George Groves (26-3) or unbeaten Jamie Cox (24-0), which will be decided at Wembley Arena the following week.
Ellison predicted, “I think Groves wins his fight against Cox. He’s got too much experience even though I do think Jamie is a good fighter. Groves is always busy with his hands and has a good jab.
“I also think Eubank Jr. wins his fight against Yildirim. That should set up Groves v Eubank in the semi-final, which will be a good fight.
“Not sure if I could call that one, to be honest. I’d like Groves to win that but then I would like to see Chris Eubank Jr. v Callum Smith in the final.
“Callum wins that one, in my view. He can punch harder and is a better boxer all-round.”
Smith will next face either 51-fight veteran and former two-time world light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-3) or unbeaten American Rob Brant (24-0) in the semi-finals.
“I think Smith beats both Braehmer and Brant to get to the final,” Ellison claimed. “Winning the tournament will make him the next biggest star and he’ll go on to win all the world titles. A showdown with David Benavidez will be a great fight for the WBC title.”
David Benavidez (19-0) became the youngest ever super-middleweight world champion when he claimed the vacant WBC green belt on September 8 by beating Romanian Ronald Gavril (18-2) by split decision – 117-111, 116-111, 111-116.
The WBO belt at 168lbs currently belongs to unbeaten Mexican Gilberto Ramirez (36-0) and the IBF strap is still with fellow countryman James DeGale, meaning that there are some lucrative fights available for the winner of the Muhammad Ali trophy in May next year.
“I believe that Callum will retire from boxing and go down in history in the same category as Carl Froch and Joe Calzaghe,” Ellison prophesied.
Callum could become the second member of his family to pick up a world title, joining older brother Liam, who is a former WBO titlist at 154lbs, losing his title to Mexican superstar Canelo last September. His other siblings, Stephen and Paul, have also challenged for world honours in their careers.
Callum made history when he beat rival Rocky Fielding in November 2015 to become the fourth Smith brother to win the British title.
So with a history of making history, Callum is firmly on track to do so again should he become the first winner of the Muhammad Ali trophy next May.