Callum Smith was finally crowned a World Super Middleweight Champion last weekend, when he stopped George Groves in the 7th round of the Super Middleweight World Boxing Super Series tournament.
Callum “Mundo” Smith, put together a patient and skilful performance to ensure that he got the win over Groves and he proved on the night, exactly what level he’s capable of operating at now.
Before earning both the WBA “Super” Super-Middleweight World title and the highly coveted Muhammad Ali trophy, Callum Smith fought his way up the rankings and despite being a mandatory challenger for the WBC title, didn’t have a chance to fight for world honours until he fought in the final of the WBSS tournament.
This post is going to delve into Smith’s story so far – from amateur to pro and from his early days as a pro to the stage where he’s at now.
Sitting a’top of the World and ranked as the #1 Super-Middleweight by boxing website and database – BoxRec.
Callum & The Smith Family
Smith was born back in Liverpool, on the 23rd April 1990.
Callum lived at home with his 3 older brothers – all former British Champions themselves – Paul, Stephen and Liam. He also lived with his younger sister Holly, who suffers with autism.
This may explain for you, the reason why Callum and his older brothers, have always had the word “Autism” on their waistbands.
The brothers all decided to do this in an attempt to both, recognise their sister but also spread awareness of the developmental disorder.
Mundo’s Amateur Career
As a young lad, Callum followed in the footsteps of his brothers and took up boxing, aged 9 – representing the Rotunda Amateur Boxing Club.
As an amateur, he won national titles and earned a silver medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games – just like two of his brothers Paul and Stephen.
Smith won his Commonwealth silver medal in the welterweight division, before moving up to light-heavy, when working towards earning a place for the 2012 London Olympics.
The youngest of four brothers, Callum narrowly missed out on a chance to fight and represent team GB in the 2012 Olympics and it was after this, that he decided to move up; into the paid ranks…
Smith’s Early Years as a Pro
Callum Smith started off his pro career with the backing of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Promotions in October of 2012. Alongside this promotional deal, Smith was also trained by British trainer – Joe Gallagher – who similarly trained all the other Smith brothers at the time.
The scousers pro debut was on a Carl Froch undercard in Nottingham on November of that same year.
Despite not being overly impressed by his debut performance, Smith would go on to hone his skills in the pro ring and went on to become the first British fighter to win 6 consecutive fights by first round stoppage.
This made an early statement suggesting how much power Smith had behind his punches!
Before long, Smith would capture both the English and WBC International titles. All of this, he’d done within his first 9 fights as a professional.
Another statement made, early on in his career!
More Wins & More Titles
A few fights later and Smith had made several successful defences of his WBC International strap, after vacating his English title.
Smith took care of the opponents that were thrown his way and more often than not, dispatched of them within the scheduled distance.
One of his more dominant and memorable performances came against local rival and (at the time) unbeaten Super-Middleweight, Rocky Fielding.
“Mundo” came into the fight a slight favourite, but both the public and boxing experts were insistent that a real test was on the way and that a close fight was on the cards.
Smith however, had a different idea in mind and had Fielding knocked down 3 times within the first round, forcing the referee to wave off the fight before the bell to signal the end of the round, had rung.
In his next outing, Smith stepped up the level once again and fought for the EBU European title.
Yet again however, Smith was too much for his opponent – the French fighter Hadillah Mohoumadi – and stopped him within 2 minutes of the first round.
After capturing the European title, Smith went on to win his next three fights inside the distance, before making a decision to enter the World Boxing Super Series.
The World Boxing Super Series
Despite having earned himself a #1 ranking with the WBC and being in-line to fight Anthony Dirrell for the strap, Callum Smith decided instead to join the World Boxing Super Series. Seeing, in the distance, a different opportunity to gain World accolades…
That opportunity was to win the WBA Super World title from “Saint” George Groves, in a fight that would be relished by the huge British Boxing fan base and do wonders for Smith’s credibility and legacy as a professional fighter.
In the quarter finals, Smith fought for the WBC Diamond title – beating Erik Skoglund on points.
This “Diamond” title is essentially similar to an interim title (so I believe), which means that Smith should get a shot at current WBC Super-Middleweight Champion: David Benavidez, in the near future.
Advancing on from his first win, “Mundo” was due to fight former Super-Middle and Light-Heavyweight World champion: Juergen Braehmer.
However, due to illness, the experienced veteran had to pull out of the fight and he was replaced by former kickboxing World champion – Nieky Holzken.
Holzken was handled by Smith convincingly and again, the Liverpool fighter outboxed and outpointed his opponent. Despite not igniting the excitement of fans with his performance.
Despite a slightly “lack luster” performance last time around, boxing fans were soon to be enthralled as the final of the WBSS was announced…
George Groves Vs. Callum Smith!
A very highly anticipated fight between the top 2 seeded fighters of the competition.
At last, the chance had come for Smith to prove his capabilities and show the World just how good’a fighter he really was.
The build up to his fight with Groves was one handled with care, both men were respectful towards one another and both fighters appreciated their opponents skill-set and punching power.
This fight didn’t need trash talk, insults, staged arguments or all that much promotion, as all true boxing fans knew the quality of this matchup and the fight had been spoken about for such a long time, that the fight was already guaranteed to sell!
Coming into the showdown, Groves was the slight favourite, having had the more experience and having fought at World level for many years.
Smith however, had been more than ready for this shot for his past few fights and he made that obvious within the early rounds.
Putting together a disciplined and patient performance, Smith set himself up for a big win and a heavy stoppage against the Londoner in the opposite corner.
Throughout the fight, Smith controlled the centre of the ring and boxed smart from a high; tight guard, whilst Groves tried to adjust and adapt to fighting such a naturally bigger man.
How Callum Smith makes Super-Middleweight is beyond me, but his size advantage certainly helped on this occasion as he made life incredibly difficult for Groves, who couldn’t push Smith back.
In the 7th round, “Mundo” landed the first punch, in what was to be the finishing combination…
He wedge blocked Groves’ punch with the left hand and then immediately afterwards, turned that defence into offence and turned it into a left hook.
This left hook scrambled Groves’ senses and with his killer instinct, Smith jumped straight on him and swarmed him with a variety of punches.
The final and telling blow, was a right handed body shot that slumped George Groves down; over and onto the canvas. A position from which he did not rise until the end of the referees count.
That evening in Jedda, Saudi Arabia belonged to Callum Smith. It was “Mundo’s Time”…
Although the fight was over 4000 miles away from his hometown of Liverpool, Smith’s win was celebrated all over the country and the British Boxing community were thrilled to see Smith finally get the World title that he very, really deserved.
Cementing His Legacy
Having beaten George Groves – who defeated Callum’s brother Paul back in 2011 – Smith has already avenged one of his older brothers defeats.
However, what’s next is the big question…
Where does Callum go now?
He has many different options available to him and his team, it is now just a case of both business and politics.
Whatever Smith and his team decide to do next, it’s almost certain that they’ll be wanting to cement his legacy.
To etch his name into boxing history and attempt to maybe even unify the division – providing he can keep making the weight.
If Smith does look to unify the division, then at this current point in time, he will have to dethrone the following fighters: Jose Uzcategui, Gilberto Ramirez and David Benavidez.
What lays ahead for Smith, is as of yet, not crystal clear.
However, I am almost certain that we will see him go on to capture more World titles; maybe even in a number of different weight divisions…
For now, let’s all appreciate the story of Callum “Mundo” Smith and how heartbreak at not making the 2012 Olympic team, turned into immense happiness and fulfilment, after winning the WBA Super World title, The Ring Magazine World title and the Muhammad Ali trophy.