EXCLUSIVE: Callum Smith confirms Eddie Hearn blessing for WBSS

It involves every world champion in the cruiserweight division whilst also includes the super-middleweights with four Brits involved.

One of them participating for the inaugural Muhammed Ali prize is Callum Smith, and on September 16 at the Echo Arena he will take on Sweden’s Erik Skoglund.

The 27-year-old admitted he found things very frustrating this year after negotiations stalled with Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC world title.

“I got the offer a while ago, could have been early May and it had been mentioned to me but I had plans of the WBC world title,” Smith exclusively explained to World Boxing News.

“There was talk about fighting for the WBC before May and I could then go into the tournament with the title. I then thought I was going to miss the tournament as I was going to fight in September which was disappointing, but I wanted the WBC title.

“But he (Dirrell) messed around with me, so it was a no brainer in the end.

“I think it’s a great format, there’s a lot of good fighters in it, people talk about fighting good fighters, you never know if they’re going to happen with different promoters and stuff but this tournament takes all that away.

“Whoever you get in the draw you have to fight, it’s made boxing a bit more simple and I think that’s why people are loving it, if it runs smoothly then we could see more weight classes fighting in this over the years,” he added.


Eddie Hearn will have no contribution to the tournament, though Smith insisted the Matchroom promoting mogul is fully supportive about his decision to box in the upcoming tournament.

“At first, he was a bit cautious about whether it’d be a flop but when this fight with Dirrell was dragging out for the WBC, he was fully supportive as it was stalling my career.

“It was a big decision, I spoke to my brothers and Eddie, they said it’s a no brainer, go into the tournament win the world title and you’ll become a household name.”

The undefeated Scouser is also open to a British duel with IBF king James DeGale towards the backend of next year.

Complimenting the Londoner he concluded: “I respect James, he’s a good fighter. I believe he’s the best fighter in the world and deserves to be number one. He’s the man to beat.

“I want to become the best super-middleweight on the planet and to do that I have to win this tournament and beat James DeGale. In the future, I definitely want to fight him.”