Callum Smith will be staying busy next month, fighting unbeaten light heavyweight contender Pawel Stepien in the main event, live on DAZN at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, on March 11th in a loaded Matchroom Boxing-promoted card from top to bottom.
Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) will be fighting for the third time since moving up to 175 two years ago, and it’s going to be interesting to see how well he performs against the 32-year-old Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs).
Smith, 32, has a guaranteed title shot as the WBC mandatory against IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev in the summer. As such, Smith cannot afford to lose to Stepien if he wants to stay on course for that fight against the unbeaten Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs).
“Pawel Stepien is just what I need going into the Artur Beterbiev fight,” said Callum Smith. “He hasn’t ever tasted defeat, and he’s ranked in the top 15 by 3 governing bodies. He is certainly no walkover, and I know I can’t afford to make any mistakes. The prize waiting for me should I win means you’ll be seeing the best from me on March 11.”
“Callum Smith can’t afford any slip-ups against Pawel Stepien – he’s next in line to face unified World Champion Artur Beterbiev and that’s a fight I really fancy him,” said Eddie Hearn.
The notable fights on the Smith-Stepien undercard are unbeaten light welterweight Liam Paro (23-0, 14 KOs), fresh off his first round knockout victory over Brock Jarvis last October, taking on the 33-year-old Robbie Davies Jr (23-3, 15 KOs) in a 10 round fight.
This is a big ask for the ten-year pro Davies Jr to go up against the talented unbeaten Aussie Paro, but he’s got the experience and has won his last three fights to have a good shot at pulling off the upset. On paper, you have to favor Paro, though, as he’s looked incredible lately and seems destined to win a world title at 140 soon.
In another intriguing fight on the card, the hard-hitting undefeated super middleweight contender Diego Pacheco (17-0, 14 KOs) will take on the always-tough Jack Cullen (21-3, 9 KOs) in a 10 round fight.
To be sure, the 29-year-old Cullen has got it tough going up against the 21-year-old Pacheco because this is a guy with a lot of power, and he’s being heavily hyped as the future star of the 168-lb division. Cullen will need to raise his game on the night for him to have a chance of winning.
Two years ago, Cullen was stopped in the sixth round by the powerful Kevin Lele Sadjo by a sixth round knockout in December 2021. Since then, Cullen has fought just once, beating Vladimir Belujsky by an eight round points decision. It’s unknown how the long layoff will impact Cullen’s performance, but it might not matter with him going up against a puncher like Pecheco.