Exclusive: Stephen Smith picks brother Callum-Groves WBSS final, opens up on Dirrell WBC ordeal

Joe Hewlett 20/11/2017
Stephen Smith

📸 Lawrence Lustig

The World Boxing Super Series bonanza has completed its first leg of two tournaments that consist of the best super-middleweights and cruiserweights around the world.

The super-middleweight division holds far more interest in the UK with three Brit’s into the semi-finals of the inaugural Muhammed Ali tournament.

Callum Smith is pitted against former two-time world champion Jurgen Braehmer next in the semi-final at the beginning of the new year.

And his elder brother Stephen has backed his brother to progress into the final. ‘Swifty’ also favours George Groves to progress past Chris Eubank Jr. as well.

“It’s a good fight for Callum as Braehmer has been around for a long time, he’s experienced and it’s exactly the fight that he needs before getting to the final,” Smith exclusively told World Boxing News.

“He obviously has to beat him first but if he does, he can then look at a huge domestic clash with another Brit which is something he’s craving. It’s a great format where the best fight the best.”

On Groves v Eubank, Smith added: “It’s an intriguing fight between Groves and Eubank, an interesting clash of styles and it’s the fight everyone is talking about because it’s a domestic dust-up.

“Groves is the bigger and stronger man, I think after making his first defence against Cox, he’ll be bursting with confidence and has the experience.

“On the other hand, Eubank is very fit and if Groves doesn’t stop him then he could get stronger as the fight goes on but if I had to pick, I’d probably have to favour Groves,” he added.

Callum is currently the WBC diamond holder but was robbed of his chance of claiming the WBC world title after negotiations stalled earlier this year.

Ex-world super-featherweight title challenger Smith was quick to rip into Anthony Dirrell and his team over their ordeal in trying to arrange the match-up.

“It’s sad what has happened, Callum fought in a final eliminator to get into the mandatory position to fight for the title. The following April we got a letter with the date and was told to sign the contract by midnight to get the fight on in Los Angeles and Callum signed it and done everything asked of him.

“He then gets told it the fight had been approved before they decided to move the fight the night before and were changing the venue. At that stage, it had gone too far, Callum had friends who had spent a lot of money for hotels and flights for the original date. It’s been an absolute joke, so at that stage he said, I’m pulling out anyways I don’t want to be messed around anymore.

“And that’s not even the whole story of it. It took so long, and Callum got sick of waiting and waiting after getting to the final hurdle. The four of us (Including other brothers Paul and Liam) had a little family meeting and put all the options on the table and felt the best offer was the WBSS.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and it has proved to be the right decision as Dirrell pulled out of his fight anyway due to an injury,” he added.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95