Callum Smith's dream of Anfield fight hits major stumbling blocks, says trainer Joe Gallagher
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 04/01/19 12:07pm
Callum Smith's dream of fighting at Anfield has hit major stumbling blocks, but trainer Joe Gallagher still hopes the world champion will receive a homecoming title defence.
The 28-year-old super-middleweight had wanted to make the first defence of his WBA 'super' title at the home of Liverpool football club, after claiming the belt with a knockout of George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September.
But Gallagher admits the cost of securing the 54,000 seated stadium and preferred opponent Andre Ward has complicated plans for a fight in May.
"There's lots of hurdles we have to overcome yet, from what I'm hearing," Gallagher told Sky Sports. "I'm led to believe as well it's cheaper to hire out Wembley than it is Anfield, which is really disappointing.
"Liverpool boxing fans, the city itself have been screaming for a huge event, a boxing event, for it to happen in the city, and with it [Anfield] getting its entertainment licence, everyone thought it was all systems go.
"But until they be more reasonable with their hiring and the pricing of the venue, of the stadium, and not only that then, there's other factors - getting the right dance partner for Callum Smith."
Ward's manager has hinted he could return from retirement for a major fight, with Smith and cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk named as possible opponents for the 34-year-old.
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and a unification fight with Gilberto Ramirez remain other options for Smith, although Gallagher remains hopeful that Ward can be lured back to the sport by a lucrative fight against the Liverpudlian.
"Callum Smith is who we've always talked about fighting Andre Ward, and I know from what I'm hearing, Andre Ward wants silly money to come out of retirement," said Gallagher.
"If that's the case, I don't think either Usyk or Callum Smith will ever get to fight Andre Ward, but I'm sure there's a deal to be done somewhere, and that is the fight.
"That's a bigger fight and a better fight, Callum Smith against Andre Ward, than Usyk against Andre Ward.
"I know the challenge for Andre to fight Usyk and all the world cruiserweight belts is there, but as good a fighter as he is, I don't think that's going to fill any stadiums either in the Ukraine, or in the UK, or in the US.
"I think the only stadium fight that's available there, that makes sense, is Callum Smith versus Andre Ward at Anfield in Liverpool."
You can hear more of an interview with Joe Gallagher on Wednesday's Ringside Toe 2 Toe podcast.