Promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed that former WBA (Super) and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight champion, Liverpool’s Callum Smith would make his ring return on the Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua rematch undercard. Usyk vs Joshua 2 is slated to take place on July 23 in Saudi Arabia and could have a really strong undercard due to an increased budget from Saudi Arabia site fees.
Callum Smith, the #1 rated 175-pound fighter with the WBC, last boxed on the Joshua vs Usyk undercard in September 2021 at the Spurs Stadium delivering a ‘lock in’ contender for knockout of the year with opponent Lenin Castillo left in an uncontrollable twitch in one of the more brutal moments in boxing. Smith demonstrated his undeniable KO power through his long leverage against a normally durable opponent in Castillo, who had gone the distance with Dmitry Bivol and Marcus Browne.
Who Will Callum Smith Face On July 23?
Eddie Hearn stated Callum Smith would be fighting in a WBC Final Eliminator for Artur Beterbiev’s Light Heavyweight Championships on July 23. The most likely opponent is the WBC’s #2 contender at a 175-pounds in 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist and current European Champion, France’s Matthieu Bauderlique (21-1).
Bauderlique, a top 15 light heavyweight, is represented by OPI Since 82 who work with Matchroom for their Italian and Spanish shows and have a very good working relationship with them making the fight relatively simple to negotiate. The French southpaw claimed the European title in his most recent contest against Igor Mikhalkin (24-2) as the away fighter in September 2021 and has not boxed since, waiting for his big opportunity.
Callum Smith was offered the chance to face Joe Smith Jr for the WBO Light Heavyweight title in January but the birth of his child took priority and saw him turn down the opportunity and have almost a year outside the ring. Smith now looks for a world title shot at the end of 2022 instead and moves one step closer on July 23.