As World Boxing News reported on September 13, Callum Smith will face John Ryder next, whilst doubts have arisen over the appearance of Amir Khan on the bill.
Smith will defend his WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against his WBA mandatory challenger at the M&S Bank Arena on Saturday November 23.
The event will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) landed the WBA World title and was crowned World Boxing Super Series Champion. This followed a stunning seventh round knockout victory over British rival George Groves in Saudi Arabia last September.
It’s also a win that saw Smith claim the vacant Ring Championship.
He put those titles on the line for the first time against two-time Olympian and former Middleweight World ruler Hassan N’Dam on his US debut at Madison Square Garden in New York earlier this year. Smith floored the French-Cameroonian three times in three rounds as he delivered a clinical display.
‘Mundo’ returns home to fight in his native Liverpool for the first time since outpointing Sweden’s Erik Skoglund in September 2017. He knows that a win over his fellow Brit Ryder is vital if he is to secure a dream fight at Anfield next year.
Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) earned the number-one ranking with the WBA with a seventh round technical knockout win against previously undefeated Russian Andrey Sirotkin in their final eliminator clash at the Copper Box Arena in London last October.
‘The Gorilla’ stopped Bilal Akkawy to win the vacant interim WBA Super-Middleweight title last time out on the undercard of Saul Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and in doing so kept himself in line for Smith’s crown.
“I always love coming to Liverpool but when one of their own headlines in a World title fight, there’s nothing quite like it,” said Eddie Hearn.
“I’m so happy Callum gets this chance to return to the city as champion in a brilliant domestic fight. Callum has established himself as the number one super-Middleweight on the planet right now and John Ryder is on a brilliant run that has seen him become the WBA interim champ and the mandatory challenger.
“It’s Liverpool vs. London in what I expect to be an intriguing fight for the 168 marbles.”
Head of Sky Sports Boxing, Adam Smith said: “Callum Smith returns to Liverpool as the world’s best Super-Middleweight for an exciting domestic clash against John Ryder, who is in red-hot form.
“It’s brilliant to have Smith back on Sky Sports, in one of the pivotal nights in our stacked boxing schedule. An Anfield night could lie ahead for him, but Ryder has really transformed his fortunes in recent months and has earned his shot at a World title.
“We’re expecting another electric atmosphere on November 23 in Smith’s home city, a thriving hotbed for sport as Liverpool target the Premier League title.”
WBN had been informed that Hearn planned to confirm both Kell Brook and Khan as co-features in separate warm-up bouts.
Offers have been made, although there is now some doubt over both featuring. WBN understands Brook is very keen, but Khan may want to delay his return until the New Year.
Reaching out to Khan on Friday, WBN was told nothing is set in stone. Unless Hearn comes with a significant package, Khan is likely to sit out the remainder of 2019.
Should Khan refuse to participate, hopes of a Brook battle in 2020 could take a blow.
More will come to fruition soon as Brook continues training hard.