Callum Smith says he would bet George Groves if the pair met for a World title – but insists his sole focus is on putting on a career-best display against Christopher Rebrasse when they meet for the vacant WBC Silver World Super Middleweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Friday June 26, live on Sky Sports.
Smith faces the toughest test of his promising pro career against the Frenchman, who travelled to the UK in September to face Groves to defend his European belt with the same Silver title on the line, and gave the Londoner a tough examination at Wembley Arena in his first fight since being KO’d be Carl Froch in the stadium next door.
‘Mundo’ is ranked at number three in the WBC and with Groves set to face Badou Jack for the vacant belt in America this autumn, Smith wants to put in an impressive display to take big strides towards securing a mandatory shot in 2016 – a shot he says he would turn into title glory.
“There’s a lot of big fights out there for me in this division, and the biggest ones are all on my doorstep,” said Smith. “There’s a lot of talk about IBF champion James DeGale getting a rematch with Groves next summer but hopefully I can get to Groves first and take his title if he beats Jack, and maybe me and James DeGale can fight.
“Winning the World title is much more important to me than fighting Groves – but I do believe I have got the beating of him style-wise if it comes off.
“But I am just focussing on Rebrasse, it’s a tough fight but you are going to have to win tough fights if you are going to chase World titles down the WBC route as it’s such a great division.
“Eddie Hearn and Joe Gallagher have a plan. I am number three in the WBC now, by the time Groves and Jack box for the belt, I’ll be looking for a final eliminator by the end of the year and look for my shot in the New Year as mandatory challenger. Groves vs. Jack is a pick ‘em fight, it’s a good fight, and one that I’m looking forward to watching and hopefully I’ll be looking at the winner as a future opponent.
“This is the route we’re taking and I believe I will become WBC World champion. But Rebrasse is a tough fight so we’ll know where I am at after this one.
“Rebrasse gave Groves a tough fight, he took some big shots from Groves and gave plenty of his own back, so I expect a tough night. I have trained for 12 hard rounds as it’s my toughest fight, but one that I believe I can win convincingly and progress from it.
“It’s the right fight at the right time, I’ve got a lot to gain so it’s perfect for me. He’s never been stopped, he’s big at the weight and he’s coming to win, so he’ll test me but that’s what I need. I want to become a World champion and I am not going to get there by beating people I am supposed to beat comfortably, I have to test myself so this is a great night.
“If I stop him then people will believe it’s a statement and measure that against Groves, but I am not thinking about that, I don’t compare myself to other fighters, I just feel that if I can perform to the best of my ability then I will win in style and win more convincingly than people think I will.”
Smith’s clash with Rebrasse is part of a massive night of action in Liverpool, with Callum’s fellow World-ranked Merseyside Super Middleweight Rocky Fielding tasting his toughest test against highly-rated Texan Brian Vera. Tony Bellew meets the experienced Lubos Suda as he closes on a World title shot at Cruiserweight and new Matchroom signing Martin Murray making his debut at Super Middleweight.
Tickets for the huge night of action on Merseyside are on sale now with tickets priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 available from the Echo Arena website www.echoarena.com and on 0844 8000 400. VIP tickets at £250 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing at www.matchroomboxing.com and on 01277 359900.