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CALLUM SMITH, who won the WBA super-middleweight world title in September, is expected to make his first defence of the title in May of this year.
It might not be in Liverpool, with his promoter Eddie Hearn suggesting that he could go to the USA for his next fight.
“Talking to Joe [Gallagher, Smith’s trainer] and the team, looking like May for his first defence. Just determining whether that will be in Liverpool or America,” Hearn told Boxing News.
This fight is unlikely to be against one of the major names in the sport. For time being hopes of taking on Gennady Golokin will have to remain on hold. “Not at the moment I don’t think. But I think it’s a future fight and I think the Canelo fight is there in the future as well,” Hearn said.
The UK does need new stars to emerge. George Groves, Smith’s last opponent, has retired as has Tony Bellew. Amir Khan and Kell Brook are nearing the end of the line. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are expected to fight in America next.
“You can’t just think about the next six months. You’ve got to think about 2020 and if you don’t build them now you won’t get those Box Office fighters because they’re not going to be given that star billing. So it’s up to all of them to perform,” Hearn said. “You’ve got that era that’s sort of [ending]. Even the ones that haven’t retired, Brook, Khan, Crolla, those guys are in their last two, three, four fights.
“The same with [Joshua] Buatsi, with [Josh] Kelly, [Anthony] Fowler, those guys they’ve got to step up and we’ve got to see number one how did we do on the gate, how did we do on the ratings, what was the performance like. All these things.”
“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” Hearn added. “There’s going to be that period where [Joshua] Buatsi’s going to headline, Josh Kelly’s going to headline and then you’re going to see who continues to perform, to impress, to rate and then eventually you find your next Box Office fighter because the one that does is that guy.”