By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn says he’s interested in staging the fight between IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith at the M&S arena in Liverpool next.
Hearn says talks have already started for the WBC-ordered fight between mandatory challenger Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) and Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and Callum.
Smith, 32, is now free and clear after pulling out of his fight against Pawel Stepien for this Saturday night due to an injury.
Hearn wants the Beterbiev-Smith fight to take place in Callum’s hometown of Liverpool, and he believes it’s possible.
The other alternative is to stage the fight in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, which would make Smith a lot of money.
“He wanted that fight before Beterbiev. We obviously know now that the Beterbiev fight is happening, but in an ideal world, he would have been in the ring on Saturday night and gone through the process, got a good win, and geared up for that massive fight,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about Callum Smith pulling out of his fight against Pawel Stepien that was previously scheduled for this Saturday night in Liverpool.
“The plan was to fight in preparation for the Beterbiev fight. I wanted to stay active,” said Callum Smith. “As Eddie said, I did the full camp and did the hard work and not get to fight and get paid. It’s unfortunate.
“I’ve got to look at the end goal, and that’s to be world champion. Ideally, I would have liked to have gotten a win and rolled into a world title fight. I still believe I become world champion this year,” said Callum.
“No, but it’s going to be ordered,” said Hearn when asked if the Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith fight is a done deal. “The WBC has already written to all parties and said, ‘We’re going to respect Ramadan for Beterbiev,’ but after that negotiations will begin and hopefully straight forward.
“He’s been to England before, and there’s already a model in place between Top Rank and Beterbiev, and we’re desperate to do the fight at the Echo or M&S. It’s such a great fight for that arena. We’d love to do it outside, but Anfield is not possible this summer.
“I just feel that’s a special arena. For a fight like that, it would be fantastic to do it in Liverpool. Probably, yeah,” said Hearn when asked if the Beterbiev vs. Smith fight would make more money if it were staged in Abu Dhabi.
“Callum is on the smaller piece as the challenger, but it’s still a massive name in the fight. If you asked him where he’d prefer to do it, the answer would be in Liverpool. Beterbiev might want more money, and maybe the economics would only work in the Middle East.
“But we’ll be doing everything we can to bring the fight to Liverpool,” said Hearn.
“I’d like it in Abu Dhabi,” said Smith.
“With Beterbiev, maybe it’s a little easier to do it in the Middle East. If there’s more money and his religion as well, I’m sure he’d love to fight out there as well. We’ll have to see, but the good news is that process has begun with the WBC, and he’s going to get his chance to be a two-division champion.
“I think in terms of wins, I think you go Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Callum Smith, and then you’ve got Anthony Yarde, Joshua Buatsi, and a lot of good fighters. But for me, Callum is a better fighter domestically than others because of his track record what he’s achieved in his career, and because of his quality,” said Hearn.