Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) hoisted the Muhammad Ali trophy this past Saturday in Saudi Arabia after he knocked out now former WBA champion George Groves (28-4, 20 KOs) in the seventh round of their fight.
Many viewed Smith as a bit lucky with the draw he managed to get leading up to the final.
In his first round matchup he easily outpointed Erik Skoglund (26-1, 12 KOs). His semi final opponent Jürgen Brähmer (49- 3, 35 KOs) was sure to test his resolve and provide stiff competition for him. The only problem with that scenario is Brähmer never made it to the showdown suffering from an illness that forced him to the sidelines.
Instead of the battle tested former champion, Smith was pitted against Nieky Holzken on just four days notice. Needless to say it wasn’t a very competitive bout, although Holzken provided a solid showing considering the circumstances.
Smith was thought to be at a major disadvantage against Groves, mainly because Groves had faced the better opposition in the lead up to the bout in Jamie Cox (25-2, 14 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 KOs). Looking at Groves’ resume shows that he was also much more battle tested. He has shared the ring with former champions Carl Froch, Martin Murray, Fedor Chudinov and Badou Jack.
Callum Smith however didn’t get the memo. He went on to defeat Groves emphatically in the final by knockout in the seventh round.
Smith is not only the WBA champion, but he also possess the Ring Magazine title, the WBC diamond belt and the famed World Boxing Super Series Ali trophy. He will undoubtedly enjoy this moment, but he also must have an eye on what lies ahead.
He has no shortcoming of big fights available to him. Let’s take a look at what exactly could be next for Callum Smith on the horizon.
On the other side of the world on Saturday night, current IBF Super Middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui took part in a non-title bout against the tough, but over matched Ezequiel Maderna. Uzcategui took care of business winning easily by unanimous decision.
Both Smith and Uzcategui looked good last night and it makes sense for them to meet each other next. Uzcategui does have a mandatory challenger in Caleb Plant who has the skill set to cause major issues for him.
With that being said, unifications bouts have always been held in higher regard over mandatory bouts so if Uzcategui truly wants to unify I don’t see the IBF giving him many issues in taking a Smith bout instead.
How the matchup would play out would be intriguing to watch as it would be a complete clash of styles.
Will Uzcategui’s pressure and volume punching become too much for Smith to handle? Or will Smith be able to use his boxing ability to counter Uzcategui and take control of the fight?
Hopefully these two men can get in the ring against each other next so we can have our answer.
You’d be hard pressed to find a champion in any weight division with a more weaker resume than Gilberto Ramirez. In his 38 professional fights many believe he’s really only faced one opponent with a heart beat in Jesse Hart. He is still regarded by many as the best at Super Middleweight.
Facing and beating an opponent the caliber of Callum Smith would place significant value to this claim. Ramirez, to his credit, has been clamoring for the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
With Smith coming out victorious and looking as though he is the top dog in the division it seems like the perfect time for both of these men to meet and find out who truly reigns supreme at Super Middleweight.
Chris Eubank Jr.
Don’t adjust your screen ladies and gentlemen–my latest suggestion for an opponent for Callum Smith is not a typo.
In what was a surprise to no one Chris Eubank Jr. destroyed JJ McDonagh on the Smith vs. George Groves undercard.
From a boxing standpoint this matchup makes little-to-no sense as Eubank Jr. was ousted in the second round by the same opponent Smith just beat. Financially though, this fight makes all the sense in the world. Say what you want about Eubank Jr. he does have some drawing power to him with his brash persona.
Eubank Jr. on the other hand has seemingly made it clear that he would like to fight former champion James DeGale as that could be a lucrative fight for him as well. However, Eubank Jr. has a moniker of “strap season” meaning he wants the belts of all the champions.
A match against Smith could provide him with both a significant amount of money and another chance at gold.
The other two fights will do more to enhance Smith in boxing circles. Yet, a match against Eubank Jr. will provide a much bigger payday.
Who do you want to see Callum Smith face next? Leave a comment letting us know.
Header photo by Reuters