WBC installs Callum Smith as Beterbiev’s #1 contender at 175

By Michael Collins - 01/15/2022 - Comments

In a highly questionable move, the World Boxing Council has installed former WBA 168-lb champion Callum Smith as thev#1 challenger to WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev in their new rankings.

It’s a bit of a shocker for the 6’3″ Callum (28-1, 20 KOs) to be moved to the #1 spot in the WBC’s rankings at 175, given that he’s only had one fight at light heavyweight since moving up to the division last September against former world title challenger Lenin Castillo.

While the 33-year-old Castillo (21-4-1, 16 KOs) is a good basic contender at 175, he’s not a highly regarded talent to which Callum should be given a #1 ranking with the WBC after beating him.

The excellent news for Callum Smith is Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) just finished making a mandatory defense last December against Marcus Browne, and he likely won’t get around to him until 2023.

That’ll give Callum a chance to get more seasoning under his belt before the unbeaten Beterbiev gets around to defending against him in 2023 if he’s still the champion by then.

Callum moved to the #1 spot at 175

For some boxing fans, they don’t like the idea of the 31-year-old Callum being put right back in a position to challenge for a world title after only one win after losing his WBA 168-lb title against Canelo Alvarez in December 2020.

The Eddie Hearn-promoted Callum Smith resembled a tall stork-like punching bag against Canelo in their fight two years ago, as the British fighter perched himself against the ropes like a giant bird and covered up for 12 rounds while the Mexican star wailed on him unmercifully.

WBC installs Callum Smith as Beterbiev's #1 contender at 175

What really irritated boxing fans is how Callum didn’t even appear to try to win the fight against Canelo.

Fighters are supposed to show courage and a willingness to go out on their shield, but in this case, Callum went into his turtle shell and hid for the complete 12 rounds without even attempting to make a go of it.

Callum might as well have hoisted up the white flag of surrender in the first round because he had no intention of trying to win the fight against Canelo.

You can argue that Joshua Buatsi should be the one moved to the#1 spot in the WBC’s rankings at 175 instead of Callum Smith. Buatsi has looked solid lately and has shown the kind of power that would give Beterbiev something to think about.

WBC’s new 175-lb rankings:

1. Callum Smith
2. Mathieu Bauderlique
3. Anthony Yarde
4. Joshua Buatsi
5. Dominic Boesel
6. Robin Krasniqi
7. Marcus Browne
8. Fanlong Meng
9. Ali Izmailov
10. Radivoje Kalajdzic
11. Yuniieski Gonzalez
12. Rocky Fielding
13. Michael Eifert
14. Serge Michel
15. Mose Auimatagi Jr.