Dmitry Bivol vs. Callum Smith possible for Nov.24
By Scott Gilfoid: Dmitry Bivol and Callum Smith could be facing each other on November 24 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to Dan Rafael. Smith is from the UK, but he doesn’t have a huge fan base outside of his hometown of Liverpool, England.
Bivol has been impressing the boxing world lately with his wins over Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba, Trent Broadhurst and Cedric Agnew. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is said to be looking to sign Bivol to add him to his stable to stream his fights on DAZN.
“It’s being worked on. Paperwork has been exchanged. And it is likely to be Nov. 24 in AC,” Rafael said at ESPN.com about the Bivol vs. Smith fight.
So there it is. Callum Smith on course to fight Bivol next month in Atlantic City. This is going to be interesting to see how well Smith holds up under Bivol’s powerful combination punching in the first six rounds. If Smith is still standing after six rounds, you can argue that it’ll be a moral victory for him, because Bivol is dangerous in the first six rounds. He kind of tires after that though, so Smith could have a chance if Bivol fades in the second half of the contest.
Putting Smith on the road against a foreign fighter like the Russian Bivol might increase his popularity in the same way that it did with Carl Froch when he fought in the Super Six tournament many years ago. Froch fought Arthur Abraham in Helsinki, Glen Johnson and Andre Ward in the U.S. When the tournament ended, Froch emerged a more popular fighter in his home country in the UK than he was before he entered the tourney. It didn’t matter that Froch lost the tournament to Ward. He was still more popular. So, if Smith gets bounced around the ring by Bivol on November 24, he should be alright as long as he’s not beaten too badly. The important thing is for Smith to be competitive, and be willing to go out on his shield like a good warrior.
Smith has a chance of winning if Bivol is weight drained from dropping down from 175 to 168. Presumably, this fight won’t have a catchweight handicap for Bivol to help him out a little. Dropping down seven pounds normally is difficult for a fighter who is used to fighting at 175. When former WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson dropped down from 175 to fight Andre Ward at 168 lbs without a catchweight in 2012, he was badly weight drained and battered the entire fight. Dawson made Ward look like a knockout artist, which he wasn’t. Bivol at full strength would likely be a nightmare for Smith to handle. This fight could be 12 rounds of pure schooling by Bivol if Smith is able to make it that far into the fight. Either way, it’s still a good experience for Smith to take on a talent like Bivol, because even if he’s royally clowned on the night, he’ll get some badly needed publicity. Right now, Smith is trailing the pack in the UK in terms of popularity when you compare him to popular British fighters like Anthony Joshua, Kell Brook, Amir Khan and Dillian Whyte.
Bivol (14-0, 11 KOs), who holds the WBA ‘regular’ light heavyweight title, will be moving down to 168 to challenge Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) for his WBA Super World super middleweight strap that he just won in stopping George Groves in the 7th round last month in the World Boxing Super Series tourney on September 28.
This is a risky fight for Smith, as he’s never fought anyone as solid as the 27-year-old Bivol. The toughest guy Smith has fought is George Groves, but he was coming off of a bad shoulder injury and wasn’t at his best. Smith was losing the fight to Groves before he caught him with a big left hook in the 7th that hurt him. Groves stopped thinking after he got hit, resulting in him making a rookie mistake of backing straight up to the ropes. Groves should have grabbed Smith and tied him up for the remainder of the round until his head cleared. I’m sure that if Groves had the chance to do it again, he would have tied Smith up and kept him from unloading on him the way he did. Oh well, what’s done is done. Smith won the fight and is now poised to defend his WBA belt against Bivol.