By: Sean Crose
Liverpool M&S Bank Arena will host Saturday’s scheduled 12 round showdown between WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith and fellow Brit John Ryder. Smith is highly regarded, with a record of twenty-six wins and no losses. With victories over the likes of George Groves and Hassan N’Dam, Smith is also considered a man who can face some of the sport’s bigger challenges. What’s more, Smith himself is more than willing to step up to the figurative plate. “I believe I’m the No 1 in that (super middleweight) division,” Smith is recently quoted as saying by Sky Sports, “so he’ll have to come and beat me to take that place”
Photo Credit: Joe Gallagher Twitter Account
It’s easy to guess who Smith was referring to in the above quote. For Canelo Alvarez jumped up to super middleweight and snagged a title for himself by besting Rocky Fielding late last year. Not that Smith is relying on a fight with Canelo to define himself and his career. “I’m not going to waste my career waiting for a fight that might never happen,” Smith added. “If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, there’s still plenty of other big fights.” Some of those other fights may include the likes of fellow champions David Benavidez, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant, as Smith has indicated a willingness to unify the super middleweight division.
“That’s what I want,” Smith told Sky, “to collect as many belts as I can. To cement myself as the best on the planet.” Still, though, there’s the matter of London’s Ryder, who Smith is going to face this weekend. Although he’s clearly an underdog, the 28-4 fighter is getting a title shot in a year where upsets are in the air. “”It’s a massive opportunity for him,” Sky quotes Smith as saying of his opponent. “He’ll have had the best training camp he’s ever had and he’ll be coming to give it his all.”
Although he doesn’t have the most prestigious resume, the 31 year old Ryder is riding – pardon the pun – a four fight winning streak that began back in 2017 when he knocked out Patrick Nielson at Wembley. Although he’s viewed as essentially being a tuneup for a rising star, Ryder has taken to knocking opponents out on a regular basis since losing to Rocky Fielding in 2017 by split decision.
Yet Smith and Ryder aren’t the only attractions on Saturday’s card – which will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The 10-1-0 Anthony Fowler will be facing the 8-0 Harry Scarff for the World Boxing Association International Super Welterweight Title, which is currently vacant, in a scheduled 10 rounder. James Tennyson, who some may remember being stopped by Tevin Farmer back in 2018, will also be on the card. The 25-3 fighter will be stepping in the ring to face the 20-2-2 Craig Evans in a 12 round lightweight affair.
Although the undercard isn’t stellar and the main event is expected to be one sided, Saturday’s Smith-Ryder card can be seen as something of a tuneup in its own right, as it will air several hours before the heavyweight title pay per view fight between Deontay Wilder, and Luis Ortiz.