In his second fight since moving up to light heavyweight, former super middleweight champion Callum Smith scored a highlight-reel fourth-round knockout of European champion Mathieu Bauderlique in a WBC light heavyweight title eliminator on the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua undercard on Saturday at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
With the win, Smith is now the organization’s mandatory challenger for three-belt 175-pound champion Artur Beterbiev.
Huge back to back wins in Jeddah for @CallumSmith23! 🧨
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) August 20, 2022
Bauderlique started quickly and landed a few shots as he burned off nervous energy with a herky-jerky style in the first round but Smith, who is now trained by Hall of Famer Buddy McGirt, eventually got into a groove and took care of business.
He landed a left hook high on Bauderlique’s head in the fourth round, which forced Bauderlique to touch his glove to the canvas for a knockdown.
But Bauderlique (21-2, 12 KOs), 33, a southpaw from France, had been hurt and Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), 32, of England, went after him. He teed off him with both hands and wobbled him before firing two left hooks to the body followed by a left hook to the head that heavily dropped Bauderlique in a corner, causing referee Hector Afu to wave it off at 1 minute, 53 seconds.
It was another significant win at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena, which is also where Smith knocked out countryman George Groves in the seventh round to win the WBA and vacant Ring magazine super middleweight title in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in September 2018.
“Good performance. Good to get back in regardless of where it was,” said Smith, who was fighting for the first time in 11 months. “Good to come back here. It puts me in line for the world title. Good night all around.”
Smith won’t get an immediate shot at Beterbiev, who is coming off minor knee surgery and due to face a Anthony Yarde in a postponed WBO mandatory defense in early 2023, but wants the fight as soon as possible.
“It’s down to my team to see what the best option is,” Smith said. “Obviously, I want a world title. I’m still in this game to become a two-weight world champion. It’s a big goal I’ve set for myself. Tonight put me one step closer.”
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said he hoped to have Smith remain active with another fight before the end of the year.
“The only thing he’s in the game for is to be a two-division world champion,” Hearn said. “But I want to see him active. One fight this year hasn’t been enough. We want him to box again if he’s ready and willing, probably in November, December.”