clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Callum Smith miffed by WBC’s decision to make Benavidez-Gavril a title fight

Smith is currently the WBC’s No. 1 contender at super middleweight.

Callum Smith Media Workout Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Callum Smith, the WBC’s #1 contender at super middleweight, is a little annoyed that the WBC has bypassed him to let David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril fight for the vacant 168lb world title.

Smith was originally supposed to take on Anthony Dirrell for the vacant strap but instead opted to participate in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series tournament where he’ll take on Erik Skoglund in an opening quarterfinals match.

The WBC then decided it was going to let Benavidez and Dirrell fight for the title, but Dirrell would pull out of the match with an injury and Ronald Gavril would step in to replace him. Meanwhile Smith will instead be vying for the WBC’s diamond title (a secondary belt) in his scheduled bout with Skoglund with the winner of the 168lb tournament becoming the mandatory challenger to the Benavidez-Gavril winner.

Smith tells ESPN that he can’t exactly make any sense out of the WBC’s decision:

"I don't know if Dirrell has pulled out of fighting for the WBC title altogether but I was No. 1 in the rankings and Skoglund is worthy enough [he's ranked at No. 12 by the WBC]," Smith told ESPN.

"I've chosen to go for the tournament so I have to make do with what I've got but I can't explain why they've chose for two fighters below me in the rankings to fight for the vacant title.”

Should Smith win the 168lb tourney, he will hold the WBA world title, but despite that he still believes James DeGale is the man to beat in the division. He says he’d love that fight too after DeGale heals up, and assuming that DeGale still holds a world title by then.

But for now Smith will have to tackle the task at hand, and that begins with his fight against Skoglund scheduled for September 16th in Liverpool.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook