Callum Smith to fight Erik Skoglund in Liverpool in World Boxing Super Series opener on September 16

20/07/2017 12:12

Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs)  will fight Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, in the opening bout of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.

In both the super middleweight and cruiserweight eight man elimination tournaments, the winner of each could earn around $10 million (£8 million) for the final and will receive the Muhammad Ali trophy.

The top four seeds selected their opponents at the tournament draft on July 8 in Monte Carlo.

Number two seed Smith selected unseeded Skoglund, and will be given a hometown advantage, having been seeded in the draw.

"A ring is a ring no matter where it is but, of course, I'm happy to be fighting in Liverpool," said Smith.

"This is my home, and this is where all my best performances as a professional have been. I like fighting in Liverpool, and with the crowd behind me, I will have an added advantage on September 16.

"There are no easy fights in this tournament. It's the best fighting the best, but I believe I made the right decision in Monte Carlo.

"That's not to say Skoglund is not a good fighter. I think he is a very good fighter. His record speaks for itself, but I think stylistically, he was the right choice for me. It will be a tough test.

"On paper, Skoglund is probably the best fighter I've ever faced, and I will need to be at my best to beat him. But every time I've been up against it in my career and every time there's been that fear factor, it's brought out the best in me and I'm hoping for the same on September 16."

The 27-year-old Brit was due to face Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC title in September, but instead opted to enter the World Boxing Super Series.

Sweden's Skoglund, 26, has no problem traveling to Smith's hometown, having previously boxed in Finland, Denmark and Germany, and is now excited for the opportunity to fight in the tournament.

"This is a huge opportunity for me to prove myself at the highest level," said Skoglund.

"Callum Smith is a top-level fighter and one of the tournament favorites. This is what the World Boxing Super Series is all about - the best fighting the best. That's why I entered, and that's why I'm really looking forward to this fight.

"For me, it's no problem fighting in Liverpool. Of course, I am always thankful for the opportunity to fight in front of my fans in Sweden, but I'm happy not having that pressure on my shoulders for this fight, and I will enjoy being the underdog for once."

The three other super middleweight quarter-finals are due to take place in September and October.

Specific dates and locations still need to be determined.

The match-ups are as follows - George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) vs Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (24-1, 19 KOs) vs Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs), and Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) vs Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs).

The semi-finals are scheduled for early 2018 and the final in May 2018.