Callum Smith vs. Nikola Sjekloca on November 22nd in Liverpool, UK
By Scott Gilfoid: Next month #10 WBC super middleweight contender Callum Smith (14-0, 11 KOs) will be facing #14 WBC former world title challenger Nikola Sjekloca (27-2, 8 KOs) in a WBC super middleweight title eliminator on the Nathan Cleverly – Tony Bellew 2 fight card on November 22nd at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.
Smith, 24, has dreams of fighting #4 WBC George Groves next year if Groves is able to beat WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell in their fight at some point in the near future. Smith, 6’3”, thinks that a win over Sjekloca will lead him to a shot against Groves.
“I’d go in there with any of the top super middleweights and that includes Groves,” Smith said via espress.co.uk. “My apprenticeship is now over. I feel I’m ready for anyone they will put in front of me.”
I can see a Smith-Groves fight as basically a toss-up if it were to happen next year, because Groves looks pretty shot since his last knockout loss to IBF/WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch. But with that said, there’s a lot of things that need to happen before we can see a Smith vs. Groves fight.
First off, Smith needs to beat the 36-year-old Sjekloca next month on 11/22, and I’m not so sure that Smith can do that. Smith looked pretty basic in his 3rd round stoppage win over Rafael Sosa Pintos last Saturday night at the First Direct Arena, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
Smith did not look impressive in that fight. He just looked like a tall, stork-like body puncher with minimal hand speed, and little in the way of defensive skills. As we saw in Sjekloca’s fights against WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika, he’s plenty tough and capable of taking any kind of punishment in order to land his own power shots.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Sjekloca were able to knock Smith out. The other thing that gets in the way of a Groves-Smith fight is that Groves will need to be able to beat Anthony Dirrell in order to get that fight, and that obviously is a big ask on Groves’ part. I mean, if Dirrell had been in the ring with Groves recently when he fought Christopher Rebrasse, I think it would have been an easy stoppage win for Dirrell.
Groves is too easy too hit, too chinny and too stamina plagued to handle a talent like Dirrell in my view. Even Rebrasse had Groves hurt on a few occasions in their fight. I think Groves’ punch resistance, which was never great to begin with, has taken a hit with his two knockout losses to Froch. If you put Groves in with Dirrell, I can see Dirrell scoring a one-punch knockout win in the first three rounds.
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