Callum Smith is set to defend his WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight belts against his WBA mandatory challenger, John Ryder, at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on Saturday, November 23.
Smith, excited to be making a return to his hometown against a game mandatory challenger, is keen to put on a sparkling performance in order to set up a blockbuster fight at Anfield next year.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to return to Liverpool as World Champion to defend my titles,” said Smith. “It’s always been a dream of mine to bring World Championship boxing to the city and hopefully this is the first of a big run of fights here.
‘My last three fights have been on the road in Germany, Saudi Arabia and New York and whilst they have been incredible experiences, there is nothing quite like a big fight night in Liverpool. It’s also pleasing that I get to be involved in a domestic fight against a tough opponent in John Ryder.
“He has fought his way to mandatory challenger and is on a big run of knockout wins that make him full of confidence. I’m working hard in camp to be at my best and make a statement as we head into a huge 2020. Right now the focus is on Ryder and defending my belts in style in my city on November 23.”
Ryder picked up the WBA Interim World Title earlier this year with a stoppage win over Australia’s Bilal Akkawy and is keen to make the most of this chance to lay claim to a full world title.
“I’m buzzing to be fighting for the full World title,” said Ryder. “I’ve worked hard to get myself into the mandatory position and keep myself there. I feel like I’m in the form of my life and this opportunity has come at the perfect time. Callum Smith is a great opponent and a great champion but I feel unbeatable at the moment.
“He’s an undefeated World Champion and he hasn’t put a foot out of line so far, so I know what I’m up against on November 23. With the form that I’m in now, I believe that I can beat anyone. I’m confident that I’ll get it right on the night and get the victory.
“People will see me beating Callum as a big upset but I don’t see it like that. I believe that I’ve got the ability to win and that’s what I plan to do. This is the chance that I’ve taken. I’m heading into the lion’s den to get the win and shatter his Anfield dreams.”