Callum Smith (29-0-1) takes on IBF, WBC and WBO light heavyweight (175lbs) World Champion, Artur Beterbiev (19-0-0) on Sunday morning in Quebec City, Canada.
The former super middleweight title holder will become Liverpool’s first ever multi-weight World Champion with victory over the Russian-born fighter now representing Canada.
Despite sub-zero temperatures and deep snow in Quebec City, Smith and his camp sport a confident attitude ahead of his first fight in 17 months.
“It’s a completely different fighter to the one that fought Canelo Alvarez down at 168lbs,” Smith told Sky Sports.
Smith tamed talks of a potential scrap with Dmitry Bivol, who holds the WBA belt, the other belt that evades Beterbiev.
“I’ve been a world champion myself and the first thing you want to do is fight the other champions and cement yourself as the best in the division.
“But I wouldn’t sign for another fight or talk about another fight while I still had one sitting in front of me.”
Smith lost his unified super middleweight title in a points defeat against Canelo in December 2020, standing as his only defeat to date.
Beterbiev is and has been regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best boxers on the planet in recent times.
His record of 19-0-0 with a 100% knockout ratio speaks for itself.
Beterbiev does not have a typical Russian style and prefers to fight fire with fire as previously seen in his fight with Brit Anthony Yarde.
The 38-year-old seemed in trouble for many of the early rounds before pouncing on a tired Yarde eventually forcing his corner to pull him out during the eighth round.
Before Yarde, Beterbiev finished Joe Smith Jr in two rounds.
The American tried to attack the champion early on, proving difficult tactics when he was caught by a barrage of shots before stumbling towards the ropes as the referee waved the contest off.
Most of Smith’s knockouts come before the sixth round of contests, which is great in most cases. He catches people cold and they feel the power early.
However, Beterbiev tends to come out on top when his opponents attack him early on, the 38-year-old allows opponents to land shots trusting his chin and ability to throw straight back.
A fantastic battle with two world-class operators both with an argument for why they can come out on top.
Although Smith could become Liverpool’s first multi-weight world champion, the Smith family are no stranger to big fight nights.
The oldest of the four brothers, Paul Smith, competed for world honours on three occasions falling short against Arthur Abraham twice and hall-of-famer Andre Ward.
Stephen Smith, 38, challenged for the super-middleweight world title on two occasions falling short twice in 2016.
Liam Smith, 35, held the WBO light-middleweight strap between 2015-2016 and has competed against Canelo for world honours falling short in a solid performance in Dallas in 2016.
Smith has since defeated top-class opposition such as Chris Eubank Jr and Jesse Vargas.
Callum Smith’s crowning night came in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia when he defeated George Groves by seventh-round knockout gaining WBA (Super) and The Ring super-middleweight titles.
Liverpool’s history in Quebec City
Smith will not be the only fighter from Liverpool to take to the ring in Quebec City.
His compatriot, Tony Bellew, went to battle against Adonis Stevenson in November 2013 losing by technical knockout midway through the sixth round.
Bellew eventually gained World honours at Goodison Park in 2016.
How can I watch it?
Viewers can tune in from 1 am (GMT) on Sunday morning on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event.
(featured image, by Paul Kelly for Merseysportlive)