Joe Gallagher: “Sergey Kovalev is a Good Name for Callum Smith!”

Joe Gallagher Thinks Kovalev is Good for Callum Smith

(Clockwise) Callum Smith, Joe Gallagher, Sergey Kovalev
(Clockwise) Callum Smith, Joe Gallagher, Sergey Kovalev

Joe Gallagher Thinks Kovalev is Good for Callum Smith

When Callum “Mundo” Smith (26-0, 19 KO’s) slides into the ring on November 23, there will be a lot on the line. First and foremost, Smith will be making the fourth defense of his WBC diamond super middleweight title and the second defense of his WBA super world super middleweight strap.


The fighter trying to denude him of this hardware will be John “The Gorilla” Ryder (28-4, 16 KO’s). The two will go head-to-head at Echo Arena located in Liverpool, England in a bout aired live on Sky Sport. Not only are his titles on the line, so too is the potential to fight at the massive Anfield Stadium.

With a capacity of over 54,000, the venue is the seventh largest stadium in all of England. A couple months back it was made public news that Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Promotions had confirmed talks with Anfield officials to secure a May 2020 fight date. Obviously, before Smith could capitalize on this opportunity, he must first defeat John Ryder.

Ryder, who is the interim WBA world super middleweight champion, is currently riding a four fight win streak. All four of these victories have come by way of stoppage. In fact, it’s been two and a half years since the Gorilla last tasted the bitter flavor of defeat at the hands of Rocky Fielding (27-2, 15 KO’s).

Due to his current string of success, Mundo is not taking him lightly. This is not to say that Team Smith is not doing a pinch of forecasting; especially with the Anfield date hoovering in the background.


Naturally, Smith would prefer to square off against his fellow champions such as David Benavidez, Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders. However, his coach, Joe Gallagher, has explained how very elusive these bouts have been. Briefly putting them to the side, Gallagher would enjoy securing a prizefight with Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KO’s).

“Daniel Jacobs don’t want none of that, GGG don’t want none of that, Canelo don’t want none of that. So sometimes you can be too good.” ~Joe Gallagher, Callum Smith, chief second

Despite his recent destructive knockout loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO’s), Gallegher feels as though the Krusher would be an ideal opponent. Being that the fight is on track for May, he would have enough time to first rest his body, then initiate a proper training camp. In terms of the Anfield angle, Gallagher believes that Kovalev has a big enough profile to justify competing in the humongous venue.

“I think that [Sergey] Kovalev is a good name for Anfield. He’s got a good profile over here from his with [Anthony] Yarde. He just fought Canelo, close fight until he got stopped… so obviously if we fought Kovalev and did him quicker and better than Ward or Canelo, then that causes more pressure as well to make Canelo.”


Nevertheless, while it’s fun and exciting to speculate on the Anfield date and a potential opponent, there is still business to be taken care of. First and foremost, Smith has to get past the confident and equally motivated John Ryder. Personally, Gallagher believes it would be thick-headed and improper to overlook the Gorilla. Certainly the potential for the big stadium fight is in their minds, but Team Smith is not getting ahead of themselves.

“First and foremost, we don’t want to talk past John Ryder; John Ryder is a hard fight. The thing is form goes out the window when domestic fights happen. Sometimes the champion doesn’t train like he should and the challenger does…John Ryder will be in good form and he’ll be coming well supported and of course the upset comes with his training well.

And we’ve got to make sure we take care of that. When we take care of that, then we can talk about Anfield as much as we want. But I think it quite a bit disrespectful to overlook John Ryder and talk about Anfield too much when we haven’t gotten past John Ryder yet.”

3kingsboxing will continue to cover this developing story.

By: Bakari Simpson

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Bakari is a Senior Writer for Visit to view more of his literary work.