Callum Smith faced world champion Artur Beterbiev for the first time during fight week on Thursday; watch Beterbiev vs Smith live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Sunday morning, with the undercard action starting at 1am
6:06 AM UK Friday 12 January 2024
Callum Smith says he will knock out Artur Beterbiev in their world light heavyweight title fight if he can produce his “best version”.
Smith has the opportunity to become a two-weight world champion when he takes on Beterbiev's IBF, WBC and WBO titles live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The undefeated Beterbiev has won all 19 of his professional bouts by knockout, but Smith (29-1), who suffered the only loss of his career in 2020 against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, is confident of causing an upset in Quebec.
“I have a lot of faith in my own ability, I know how good I am, I know how good I can be and when I'm at my best I believe I can beat anyone on the planet,” Smith told Sky. Sport after meeting with Beterbeiv at the final press conference on Thursday.
“I've confirmed it many times. Obviously, I had one slip in my career, but my best version knocked out the best version of Artur Beterbiev.”
“In camp, I do everything I can to make sure the best version of me comes out. I've always focused on not worrying too much about my opponent and letting them take care of me.”
Neither fighter gave much away when they first came face-to-face on fight week, but Smith said the intense staredown increased his focus.
“I don't think you're going to win a fight by intimidating someone like that in a head-to-head fight, especially at this level where everyone's been there and done that,” the Brit said.
“It's always good to see your opponent live. The last time I saw him was in July-August in a press conference. So it's good to feel it, it gives you a little bit of a boost mentally.”
McGirt: 'Underrated' Smith not worried
After his loss to Alvarez, Smith moved to the US to team up with trainer Buddy McGirt, who led him to KO victories in both of their fights together.
While both McGirt and Smith acknowledged Beterbiev's pedigree, the American insisted there was no fear in their camp.
“I think he's (Smith) very underrated,” McGirt said. “I think a lot of people underestimate him and on Saturday night he will show what he can really do.
“You can't go into a fight thinking about his record. We know what's in front of us, we're not stupid, we know it's a tough task and we're ready for it.
“If you're scared of all that, you're in the wrong place. So we know what's ahead, we know what's coming at us, well Callum knows. When the bell rings, he takes three steps, I take three steps.
“We're ready. Right now it's just about him going in there and taking care of his business on Saturday night.”
Watch Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 1am on Sunday. Stream boxing live on Sky Sports with NOW.
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