Callum Smith vs. Lenin Castillo added to Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk card on Sept.25th in London
By William Lloyd: Callum Smith will be making his debut at 175 against former world title challenger Lenin Castillo on the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk card on September 25th at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in North London, UK.
Boxinginsider reporting the Callum vs. Castillo fight being added to the Joshua-Usyk card. It’s going to be a good test to see whether the 31-year-old former WBA super middleweight champion Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) has the talent to compete at 175.
If Smith loses to Castillo or struggles to win, he’s going to need to move back down to 168 because it gets much tougher than this guy should he choose to stay at 175.
Smith’s nasty habit of shelling up against the ropes when pressured will be a recipe for disaster at 175 against guys like Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Joe Smith Jr, and Gilberto Ramirez.
At this point, Callum might not get far enough at 175 to challenge for a world title if he continues to fight the way he’s been.
Should Hearn dump Callum Smith?
Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing might already be thinking of an exit strategy for him if he loses again.
Another loss for Smith, Hearn might need to cut him loose and focus on finding talent that has the ability to go somewhere at 168 or 175, be it Joshua Buatsi or one of the other young fighters.
Hopefully, Hearn doesn’t place the Callum vs. Castillo fight in the co-feature spot on the Joshua vs. Usyk card just in case Smith puts in another bad performance.
It wouldn’t look good for the boxing fans to see Callum getting roasted by Castillo right before the main event between AJ and Usyk.
Callum Smith coming off a loss to Canelo Alvarez
This could be a mistake on Callum’s part to move up to 175 following his lopsided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Canelo Alvarez last December.
Smith looked terrible against Canelo, spending most of the fight with back against the ropes, shelling up like a tall turtle while the Mexican star bombarded him with shots.
It was difficult to watch the fight because it was essentially all Canelo, hitting the stationary Smith like he was a heavy bag.
The fight was so one-sided that Canelo chose to hit Smith on his left biceps while he covered up, causing his arm to swell. What’s unclear is why Smith chose to fight with his back against the ropes for the entire fight?
Smith did the same thing against John Ryder and won a controversial decision in a fight that most boxing fans had him losing.
Should Callum have stayed at 168?
Callum would have been better staying at 168 and just fixing the mistakes he made against Alvarez and Ryder rather than abandoning the division to compete at 175.
‘Mundo’ Smith has the size to fight in the light heavyweight division. Still, he’s got some major flaws in his game that will be exploited by talented fighters like Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, and Joe Smith Jr. if he doesn’t fix them.
The 32-year-old Castillo (21-3-1, 16 KOs) is a 2008 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, but he’s failed to find success since turning professional eleven years ago in 2010.
Castillo’s lack of punching power has hurt him in losses to Marcus Browne and WBA 175lb champion Dmitry Bivol, who easily beat him.
Bivol defeated Castillo by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in October 2019, winning by 119-108, 119-108, and 120-107. The most accurate score of the three was 120-107.
Castillo rebounded from the loss to Bivol to defeat prospect Ronald Gonzalez by a fourth round stoppage last July in the Dominican Republic.
The other defeat on Castillo’s resume was an eight round majority decision defeat against little-known Joseph Williams in 2017. Castillo has an eight round draw against Travis Peterkin in 2015.
Callum is trained by Buddy McGirt, who has his work cut out for him to try and rebuild the tall 6’3″ Brit to compete with the top 175-pounders.
Smith will have a tough time preventing himself at 175
Easily the high point of Callum’s nine-year professional career was his seventh round stoppage victory over former super middleweight champion George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
With the victory, Smith captured the Ali Trophy as the best fighter in the tournament. Besides beating Groves, Smith also defeated Nieky Holzken and Erik Skoglund.
This wasn’t the prime Groves that Callum beat in the tournament, however. Groves had suffered a left shoulder injury in his previous fight in the tournament against Chris Eubank Jr, and he was basically fighting with one arm when he took on Callum.
There was no way that Groves could win the fight without using his left, so it’s difficult to give Callum full credit for that victory. There’s a good chance that Groves would have beaten Callum if not for his injury against Eubank Jr.
Callum’s other major win was against former WBA 175lb champion Rocky Fielding in a first round knockout victory in 2015.
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