By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says Callum Smith has been ordered by the WBC to face 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Mathieu Bauderlique in a 175-lb title eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger to light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
This month, IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) will be facing WBO champion Joe Smith in a unification match on June 18th at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Smith vs. Bauderlique winner will take on the Beterbiev-Smith winner.
Hearn states that former WBA super-middleweight champion Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) will be fighting on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in July or August in Saudi Arabia.
It’s unclear if Callum will be fighting Bauderlique on the Joshua-Usyk II card or if that fight will happen later on down the road.
With the Callum vs. Bauderlique fight only now being ordered by the WBC, it doesn’t give much time for Bauderlique to begin preparing for the contest.
You’d have to assume that Smith was already well aware that he was fighting on the undercard of Joshua-Usyk 2, so he’d already been training for that.
Smith, 32, is ranked #1 with the World Boxing Council and will be fighting for the second time since moving up to 175 after losing his WBA 168-lb title to Canelo Alvarez in a one-sided loss in December 2020.
In Callum’s debut at 175, he stopped former world title challenger Lenin Castillo in the second round last September on the undercard of Joshua-Usyk 1 at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London, England.
The lanky 6’3″ Smith knocked out Castillo with a single shot in the second round to get the victory over the 2008 Olympian from the Dominican Republic.
#2 WBC Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KOs) is an 11-year professional from France, with his only two notable career victories coming against 37-year-old Igor Mikhalkin and 40-year-old Doudou Ngumbu.
Aside from those two wins, Bauderlique has fought obscure opposition throughout his lackluster career.
It’s too bad that it’s taken him so long to finally step it up against a name opponent because he’s been a professional for too long for him to have faced so many poor opponents.
Bauderlique’s only career loss came at the hands of Dragan Lepei in a first-round knockout defeat in 2017.
“He’ll be on the AJ card. The WBC has just ordered the final eliminator between him and Mathieu Bauderlique, so we’ll see what happens there,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to Secondsout about Callum Smith being ordered by the WBC to fight #2 Mathieu Bauderlique in a final eliminator at 175.
“I need to keep him [Smith] active. He wants a shot at [WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry] Bivol. Of course, everybody does, and we’ll see what happens,” Hearn said about Callum.
Smith must perform a lot better against Bauderlique than he did in his one-sided loss to Canelo in 2020 because he’s not going to win if he fights like that.