Despite the WBC ordering negotiations to begin immediately between Badou Jack and Callum Smith with a deadline set for February 17, the champion has decided to vacate.
Jack and the WBC have announced the intention to switch to light-heavyweight with immediate effect.
Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher is now unsure who the next opponent will be regarding the mandatory fighter’s future shot. Gallagher admits the options are endless for Smith, as readies for a WBC title shot.
“There are quite a few options for Callum although we’d like the Jack fight next. But it could be Dirrell or even DeGale for the IBF. He’s been waiting a long time for his chance now but he’s ready whenever that chance arrives.
“It’ll be like Christmas day for him once he steps into the ring to challenge or the world title. There’s a lot of very good fighters in the division with Groves fighting for a world title, DeGale the IBF champion, Callum and Jamie Cox. There could be some huge unification fights in the next year or so.
The 2015 ring magazine trainer of the year saw the Jack v DeGale fight first hand, alongside Smith, and was impressed with the character of his fighter’s UK rival.
“There were knockdowns, teeth knocked out, the referee nearly got knocked out, the fight had everything. Both fighters left it all on the line and I was impressed with how DeGale responded for the last 10 seconds of the fight after getting knocked down.
“To get back up and get through the last round after taking shots like he did proves how much heart and courage James DeGale has,” he said.
Joe Hewlett is a staff writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @Hewlett95