Callum Smith bombs out Bauderlique in four-round shootout
Callum Smith dropped gritty Frenchman Mathieu Bauderlique twice before stopping him in in the fourth of a light-heavyweight title final eliminator.
The rounds were fast-paced and hard. Bauderlique enjoyed moments of success and Smith entertained him in a war. The Liverpool man started to mark up but he managed to back Bauderlique up and work away at the Frenchman’s body, as instructed by his trainer Buddy McGirt.
Smith broke through and floored the Frenchman with a left hook early in the fourth that landed high up on the head. Bauderlique fought back but Smith walloped his opponent this way and that as he tried to apply the finishing shots.
Bauderlique took some huge punches to the head and body but Smith burst through with a massive fight-ending left hook that caused the underdog to fold over the bottom rope and the referee automatically waved it off. Bauderlique threw the same shot at the same time, but Smith landed first. It was all over at 1-53 of Round Four.
“I was surprised with how much he engaged with me early on and he caught me a few times and I went head-hunting,” said Smith. “He came out game, fair play to him and it ended up being a bit of a shootout.”
Smith, who improved to 28-1 (20), added: “I want a world title and to be a two-weight world champion. That’s all I want. I just want to keep winning and at some point, I will become a world champion.”
Bauderlique was dangerous, awkward and ambitious, but falls to 21-2.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said he would like to match Smith with Artur Beterbiev when the champion has recovered from his injury in 2023 at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium.
Boos greeted the decision that Badou Jack had done enough to pip poor Richard ‘Popeye the Sailor’ Rivera by the narrowest of margins up at cruiserweight. Connecticut’s Rivera deserved the decision, but two judges scored for Jack 96-94 while one got it right the other way with the same result in Rivera’s favor.
Jack made a late charge but it was too late for many, despite the incompetence of one official who allowed Badou an extra minute to enjoy his best round, the eighth, by giving him four minutes of work.
Rivera was awkward and Jack struggled to pin him down. Rivera moved, swivelled and pivoted this way and that, throwing punches from all angles. Jack kept grinding forward but Rivera lashed him with right hands and Jack’s face was a lumpy mess by the final bell.
“It wasn’t my best night, but we got the job done,” conceded Jack. “I’ve got to step my game up, I can’t fight like this,” Jack added, when asked whether the goal was still a third title in a third weight class.
Rivera was clearly upset with the verdict.
“I felt like I definitely did enough,” he said. “I believed in the justice system and I guess it failed me this time. I will become a world champion. Anybody in my weight class watch out. I would love a rematch… I know he doesn’t feel good about that victory.”