Callum Smith has shared his delight ahead of his homecoming bout against John Ryder on November 23 at the M&S Bank Arena.
The WBA champion returns the ring in Liverpool for the first time since his 2017 points victory over Sweden’s Erik Skoglund in the World Boxing Super Series quarter-finals. The Joe Gallagher-trained star has fought in three different countries in as many fights since, with victories in Germany, Saudi Arabia and America.
His standout victory was defeating George Groves in Jeddah to win the WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles. Smith now has a chance to live his dream of defending world honors on home turf.
Hearn has also revealed there is a strong chance Smith will get to fight at Anfield next year if he comes through Ryder, something ‘Mundo’ would relish with the stadium belonging to his boyhood club, Liverpool FC.
“It’s good to be back in Liverpool,” said Smith. “I said that when I turned professional I was good enough to win a World title and bring it home to the city and this is my chance to perform in front of my own fans.
“I thought that winning a World title was the top of the mountain but when I won it I realised it wasn’t. There is a lot more boxes I want to tick, Madison Square Garden was one, defending my World title in Liverpool is definitely one and there is talk of a massive 2020 for me.
“All of that disappears if I slip up on November 23 so I am fully motivated. I worked hard to become a World Champion and I am going to work even harder to keep it – That all starts on November 23.
“Every fight in my career has been a must-win from my debut until now, I’ve always thought that if I want to get to where I want to be then I can’t lose.
“I need to keep winning and see how good I am by challenging myself against the biggest names in the division. The best names in boxing. I can’t go on and do that if I lose against John Ryder.
“He is a good fighter on a good run of form but so am I. I’m number one in the world for a reason and the best version of me beats every Super-Middleweight on the planet. That includes John Ryder.”
As well as being linked to a unification battle with Billy Joe Saunders at 168-pounds, there is also the option of moving up to light heavyweight to take on the likes of unified king Artur Beterbiev and the undefeated Dmitry Bivol.
However, for the time being, Smith is determined to beat the best at super middleweight before beginning his quest to become a two-division world titlist.
“People always talk about 175 and it is an option, I would love to be a two-weight World Champion. I want to stay in boxing to achieve as much as I can. Becoming a two-weight World Champion is something that I would like to do.
“I want to clear up at Super-Middle. Unify the division and become undisputed. I am massive for the weight but I have got a great team. A great nutritionist and I am very dedicated.
“I do the weight well and my last few performances show that I can do the weight well and as long as that’s the case I will keep winning and clean up the division.
“There is massive fights out there, I am in a division where there is four undefeated World Champions and I believe that I am the best. If you have got a belt at my weight then you’re part of my plans and they’re the fights that I want.
“They’re the fights that motivate me but like I said before, I am fully focused on November 23 and John Ryder and I don’t just want to win, I want to win well and put on a big performance.”