Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Callum Smith, Avni Yildirim, Rob Brant join World Boxing Super Series


British super middleweight Callum Smith was officially announced as the latest entrant into the World Boxing Super Series elimination tournament.

Also added to the super middleweight field Thursday: Turkish contender Avni Yildirim and undefeated American Rob Brant.

The unbeaten Smith, who is rated No. 5 by THE RING at 168 pounds, joins WBA titleholder George Groves, former world titleholder Juergen Braehmer, as well as undefeated contenders Erik Skoglund and Jamie Cox. There’s now only one spot to be filled, which will be announced Friday.

“I am thrilled to participate in the World Boxing Super Series,” said Smith (22-0, 17 knockouts). “There is so much at stake – the Muhammad Ali Trophy as well as a potential domestic showdown with George Groves in the final. This tournament is very exciting for boxing and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Smith’s promoter Eddie Hears said, “It’s been a very frustrating period for Callum but now we have clarity and something he can really get his teeth into. He is a technically excellent fighter with huge power who we believe has all the attributes to become a world champion.”

Smith is currently on his way to Monaco for the “Draft Gala” which takes place on Saturday (11:00 p.m local, 5.00 p.m. ET). During a live TV show, the top four seeds, who will be set by the Comosa Board once the line-up has been completed, will select their opponents from the unseeded boxers. The event will be broadcast in multiple territories and will also be streamed live on the World Boxing Super Series website.

Smith had originally been scheduled to face Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC title on  September 9 in Los Angeles. That bout fell apart and left the path clear for the hard-hitting Englishman to join this attractive tournament format which is garnering plenty of attention worldwide.

Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) scored a career-best victory in May with a wide decision over Marco Antonio Periban. The power-punching 25-year-old is confident he’ll come out on top.

“In the USA they call me ‘The Dentist’ because what I do in sparring and in fights is rearranging teeth,” he said. “My message to everybody else in the tournament: You should all hope that you don’t have to fight me in the first round because I will definitely win and go on to the semi-final, final and to the victory.

“There is no stopping me. I want to make my country and my people proud and I will win the World Boxing Super Series for Turkey.“

Brant, a middleweight prospect from Minnesota who has been featured extensively on “ShoBox: The New Generation” will move up to super middleweight for the opportunity. The 26-year-old has never fought outside the U.S., and will be stepping up in competition in a huge way.

“I will be proud to represent America in the World Boxing Super Series,“ Brant (22-0, 15 KOs) said. “I am young, I am undefeated, I am hungry and I am ready for the world stage.  This is my time! I did not just enter this tournament, I am going to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy!”

The super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments will commence in September.


Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/Editor for and a member of THE RING ratings panel.  Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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