Smith (left) on the attack against George Groves. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports
Callum Smith will defend his Ring magazine and WBA super middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the U.S. and Sky Sports Box Office in the U.K.
Smith won his titles and the World Boxing Super Series’ Muhammad Ali trophy when he knocked out countryman George Groves in seven rounds in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last September. The Liverpool star now makes his first defense in what will be his New York debut and his second appearance on U.S. soil.
“I’ve had a good camp and I’m looking forward to walking to the ring as a world champion for the first time in my career,” said Smith (25-0, 18 knockouts). “I worked so hard to get where I am and now the task is to keep hold of my titles and target those big fights. To have my first defense at Madison Square Garden is going to be special and it’s another box ticked for me personally.
“N’Dam is a good fighter and he’s a former world champion. He’s only lost to three top fighters and he’s got some great wins on his record. I had him over in England to help me prepare for George Groves so we know each other well. He’s a good mover, has good footwork and can move around the ring pretty well. Experience is on his side and he’s an awkward guy to face. Saying that, he’s definitely a fighter that I should beat and get rid of if I’m on my game. I believe that I’m improving all of the time – I’ve even improved since winning the world title. I believe that I’m the best super middleweight in the world.”
In his most recent bout, last December, N’Dam defeated four-time world title challenger Martin Murray by 12-round majority decision.
“I am confident I will create a big surprise in New York,” said N’Dam. “I am so pleased and proud for this opportunity to be offered to me and I would like to add that even though the challenge is a big one, this does not affect my focus and my determination. Callum Smith is an excellent boxer with many qualities. As he is tall, he can impose his own boxing style on most of his opponents. I have much respect for him both as a boxer and a person. I believe it will be a very tactical fight.
“This is a huge platform and one that Callum fully deserves,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn. “He has established himself as the number one 168-pounder in the world and will prove it on June 1. N’Dam always brings the action and I believe this will be a high-level fight with plenty of fire. The mega fights await Callum and he can’t afford to slip up here. I know him and (trainer) Joe Gallagher have prepared diligently for this challenge and he will be sending out a statement live.”
Also on the card, Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashes with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed female lightweight championship, New Yorker Chris Algieri meets Tommy Coyle in a junior welterweight bout and Josh Kelly making his U.S. debut against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson. More undercard additions will be announced this week.
Tickets are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com). They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.
Official Ticket and Travel Packages, including the opportunity to travel on the Official Charter Plane, are available to purchase via Sportsworld (www.sportsworld.co.uk) Prices start at £1,095. Reserve your seat today.
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Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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