Smith vs Ryder: WBA champion urged to produce brutal win
Watch Smith vs Ryder in Liverpool from 7pm on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Action
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 19/11/19 6:22am
Callum Smith has been urged to deliver a 'brutal' victory over John Ryder after this risky domestic clash was enforced upon the WBA 'super' champion.
The Liverpudlian defends his WBA super-middleweight belt against mandatory challenger Ryder in front of his home city fans at The M&S Bank Arena on Friday night, live on Sky Sports, with plans already in place for Smith to fight at Anfield next year.
Trainer Joe Gallagher recognises the significance of Smith's next bout, with a super fight in touching distance, and has instructed the 29-year-old to dispatch the Londoner in ruthless style.
"Brutal. I just want Callum to be brutal," Gallagher told Sky Sports. "Callum is training like he's fighting a Canelo. Obviously he wants to put a good show on for the fans, but he wants to - like he always seems to do - make a statement.
"Like he did with George Groves, Hassan N'Dam, and he wants to do it against John Ryder as well, as his mandatory."
A unification clash with Billy Joe Saunders has been mentioned as a potential fight for Liverpool football club, but Gallagher fears it might have lost some lustre after the WBO champion laboured to a stoppage win over Marcelo Coceres earlier this month.
"He pulled out the win at the end, but you can't read too much into it. Billy Joe wasn't motivated, he was in with a kid he was expected to beat. If people think Billy Joe is going to turn up like that against Canelo or GGG, or Callum Smith, you're hugely mistaken.
"Billy Joe is a good fighter and I can see Billy Joe going down to middleweight, that's his proper weight division. As a boxing fan, I've always wanted to see that Eubank-Billy Joe rematch. I think that's a great fight and I'd love to see that.
"I don't think, and this is no disrespect, I don't think that's a big enough fight to do Anfield, or a big enough name and from what I heard of his last performance, he's half killed it a little bit, because I'm sure the American networks won't stump up money for it."
Smith is roundly recognised as the No 1 in the 168lb division, having won the World Boxing Super Series final, although Gallagher admits his fighter remains willing to step-up in weight for a big-name opponent.
"I think he would do, if it was the right fight, the right title and it made sense, 100 per cent," he said. "His frame is big enough to carry the weight up and I think if Callum moves up in weight tomorrow, a lot of people would recognise him as the no 1 light-heavyweight in the world. I think he'd get a world title shot no problem as well.
"Well obviously you've got Canelo now, who has just beat Kovalev, but any of them. Beterbiev is a good fight as well.
"For an Anfield fight to happen, we need to have the right dance partner. We don't want to have Anfield and only be 8-10,000 there. It's got to be 25-30,000.
"There isn't many people out there, big names out there that can draw that to Anfield to fight Callum Smith. Maybe GGG, there's another one. We'll just have to wait and see."