WBC orders Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith

By Boxing News - 03/15/2023 - Comments

By Matt Lieberman: IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev has been ordered by the WBC to defend his 175-lb belt against #1 Callum Smith, his mandatory next. Beterbiev & Smith have until April 11th to bang out a deal before a purse bid is ordered.

Chris McKenna of the Star reports the news of the WBC ordering the Beterbiev vs. Smith fight.

The former WBA super middleweight champion Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) will be looking to become a two-weight world champion against the undefeated Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs).

Fans won’t be happy that Beterbiev is fighting Callum next because they want to see the undisputed contest against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next.

If the 32-year-old Smith wins, he’ll go after the undisputed championship against Bivol. In a perfect world, Smith defeats Beterbiev & Bivol and faces Canelo Alvarez in a rematch in 2024, with all four light heavyweight titles at stake.

Some boxing fans don’t believe that Callum Smith is deserving of this world title shot against IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, as the Eddie Hearn-promoted Matchroom fighter has fought just twice since moving up to the 175-lb division in 2021 after being thoroughly outclassed against Canelo Alvarez in a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in 2020.

In the two fights that 6’3″ Smith has had at 175, he’s beaten┬áMathieu Bauderlique and Lenin Castillo. The fight against Bauderlique last August was a WBC light heavyweight title eliminator, which was a gimme for Callum.

Bauderlique isn’t viewed as one of the better contenders in the 175-lb division, but that was the fighter Smith defeated to become the WBC mandatory for champion Beterbiev.

Recently, Callum Smith pulled out of his headliner fight against Pawel Stepien that had been scheduled for last weekend on March 11th at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

It’s unknown what type of injury Smith had, but many boxing fans believed that he wasn’t hurt and that he pulled out to get a guaranteed title shot against Beterbiev without risking a loss.

It’s difficult to know how Callum will do against a talented fighter like Beterbiev. On the one hand, the 38-year-old Beterbiev looked vulnerable in his last fight against Anthony Yarde on January 28th, but on the other hand, Smith doesn’t bring to the table the same physical tools that troubled Artur.

Smith can’t afford to fight with his back against the ropes against Beterbiev like he did against Canelo and John Ryder.