British super-middleweight champion Callum Smith is gearing up to defend his belt on December 10 with one eye on the New Year unification between compatriot James DeGale and WBC title holder Badou Jack.
The talented 26 year-old, who is currently the mandatory challenger to Jack’s green and gold belt, faces Luke Blackledge in his own obligated defence of the Lonsdale strap as a warm-up before hitting the world stage in 2017.
Smith earned the right to fight for the coveted World Boxing Council belt with a crushing win over city rival Rocky Fielding a year ago and has been patiently awaiting his opportunity ever since.
As Jack v DeGale is confirmed for January 14 in New York City, Smith won’t have long to wait for his chance and could follow brother Paul, Stephen and Liam’s feats by contesting a world title in the summer.
“It was good to see James and Badou finally get their fight signed. I was in Washington in April when they both defended their titles and agreed to meet in a unification and I didn’t think it would take this long for the fight to happen,” said Smith.
“I didn’t think I’d have three fights before getting my chance to fight for the World title but they’re ready to fight and while it’s been a bit frustrating, I’ve been active and learning all the time and it’s exciting that I will be fighting for a World title next year.
“It’s a win-win for me. If Jack wins it’ll probably be in Vegas and that’s every fighter’s dream to fight for a World title in Vegas, but if James wins, which I think he will, then that’s a massive domestic fight and we’ve seen that the British fans love those events,” he added.
A loss against Blackledge on the Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina undercard next month would be disastrous for ‘Mundo’ and derail long-held plans to become the next big star of the 168 pound division.