Callum Smith Grapples with Defeat to Beterbiev and Plots His Return

By Michael Collins - 01/20/2024 - Comments

Callum Smith is still dealing with his disappointing seventh-round TKO loss to IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev last weekend.

The former WBA 168-lb champion Smith (29-2, 21 KOs) says he feels a little like a “spoiled kid” who was used to having things his way and now has to deal with not getting his way, suffering his second defeat in his last four fights.

Smith wants to become a world champion again, and he says he thinks he would defeat Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) if they were to fight tomorrow. He says he learns from his losses, and it was the “smallest difference” that led to his defeat.

Unfortunately for Smith, he’s not likely to get a rematch with Beterbiev soon without knocking off a couple of top contenders at 175, like Joshua Buatsi and Craig Richards.

The Bitterness of Defeat

“As a former world champion, I’ve always believed I’m the best in the world. To get back to where I was and to come up short, it’s hard to accept. It’s like a spoiled kid,” said Callum Smith to Boxing Social, talking about his loss to Artur Beterbiev.

Smith did himself a disservice by failing to fight the type of opposition at 175 to get him ready for a fighter like Beterbiev. After Smith moved up to light heavyweight following his loss to Canelo Alvarez, he best journeymen Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique.

Those were not the right type of fighters to prepare Smith for Beterbiev, and should have insisted on fighting someone like Buatsi, David Benavidez or David Morrell.

The 175-lb division is so weak that it would have made sense for Smith to have fought the top 168-pounders, Benavidez & Morrell, to prepare for Beterbiev.

“It was a good fight while it lasted. I believe part I did well and part I didn’t do well. I think that’s boxing for you,” said Smith. “You accept it and move on. I think if I were to have a rematch tomorrow, I’d walk into the ring, still believing I could beat him.

Acknowledging the Reality

“At the highest levels, it’s always the smallest of differences that make the difference in winning and losing,” said Smith. “Beterbiev was the better man that night. Tactically, he got it a little bit better. He probably performed a little bit better.

“Like I said, there’s no excuses for me on the night. I still believe I could beat him 100%. I believe I can beat him, but I didn’t. There’s no excuses. He fought a little bit better and got the win. As a man, you learn to take a loss like a man. Accept it, move on, and look for the reason why I lost,” said Callum Smith about his attitude on his loss to Beterbiev.

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