Callum Smith: I am the best in the Ali Trophy tournament
Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) believes he will not only beat Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) on Saturday in their quarter-final at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, but go all the way to take the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
The Liverpool fighter is the bookies’ and many experts favorite to take home the Ali Trophy next year in May. And 27-year-old Smith approves the odds.
“From the outside looking in, I am possibly not the obvious favorite because I am still relatively unproven at the highest level,” said Smith.
“You have George Groves who is a World Champion, who you could say could be favorite, he’ll probably be a bit annoyed that he is not.
“But from my point of view, yeah I think I am the best in the tournament so yes, I do agree with it. It is a privilege to be called the favorite, but it is just an opinion. I have to do my job now and go on and win it,” said Smith.
But first things first. On Saturday he faces 26-year-old Skoglund, the Swedish undefeated challenger.
“I have been enjoying camp, it has been going very well,” said Smith. “I know I have to be at my best to win. My trainer Joe Gallagher and I have watched Skoglund a lot, and he is a good fighter, he is a good all-rounder. He does the basics very well.”
“But everything he does, I do a little better. As long as the best version of me turns up, I will beat the best version of him,” said Smith.
“I am excited to be the first British fighter to get in the ring in the tournament. I just cannot wait to be a part of it. I think the fans will be thinking the same, with me being the first Briton in it, it will probably be their first look at the tournament. So I am not feeling pressure, more excitement.”
“I will win this fight, I always predict a win. If I can catch Skoglund and get him out of there it is a bonus, but I have been preparing for 12 tough rounds.”
Tickets for the Smith-Skoglund Muhammad Ali Trophy quarter-final and WBC Diamond World title contest on Saturday, September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool are available at stubhub.com
Fight week schedule for Smith-Skoglund
Tuesday, 12 Sept – 13.00 start
Rotunda ABC, Lambeth Rd, Liverpool L5 7QY
Wednesday, 13 Sept – 12.00 start
Liverpool Town Hall, High St, Liverpool L2 3SW