This year was set up for Callum Smith to challenge for his first world title. ‘Mundo’ and Anthony Dirrell were due to meet this month for the vacant WBC strap before talks stalled due to changing dates and venues during the summer.
Having waited around long enough, Smith looked elsewhere and penned a deal to fight in the World Boxing Super Series with the WBA ‘Super’ world title, WBC diamond title and the inaugural Muhammed Ali trophy all up for grabs.
The Scouser begins the tournament as the red-hot favourite and will face Erik Skoglund in the opening match of the super-middleweight knock-out format.
Smith admitted he is excited to return to the ring and is adamant his quality will prove too much for the Swede.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here, it’s what I’ve been asking for the last nine months it’s a good fight, I’ve got finally got it. It’s a tough fight on paper but I’ve prepared for it, I’m in good shape and I’m looking forward to it,” Smith exclusively told World Boxing News.
“People think I’ve picked him because it’s the easy fight but he’s a good fighter, there’s no bad fighters in the tournament but stylistically when I look at them all, his style gels well with mine and everything he does, I do better.
“Me and Joe studied him. He does the basics well but there’s little things he does wrong, everything’s different when you’re in there but we’ve come up with a certain few things for the night. He’s a good fighter but I’m better,” he added.
The tournament contains some of the best super-middleweights domestically, and worldwide with George Groves, Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jr all participating.
Though the 27-year-old believes you can’t look past the number one seed in Groves and sees the Londoner as his most dangerous rival.
“They’re all different stylistically, in a few months time we’ll know who the most dangerous super-middleweight is provided I get in the final but you’ve got to look at George Groves.
“He’s the world champion and he’s got what the seven other fighters want, he deserves respect for that but those three are on the other side of the tournament I’ve got to come through this fight and the semi-final before I can even look at that.
“That’s the beauty of the tournament, it’s a good tournament with eight good fighters in it, there’s no easy fights,” he concluded.
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95