By Richard Downie
Last Saturday, Callum Smith scraped through 116-112, 117-110, 117-111 to open up the Super Middleweight portion of the WBSS against in a by the numbers performance against Erik Skoglund. Outside of a steady jab, Skoglund offered little much as he gave away the first third of the fight to Smith.
Skoglund found his rhythm at the end of the fourth and built on it magnificently in the fifth, busting Smith’s nose open and causing him to give pause, causing a mental lapse as Smith was facing an increasing stern test. Unable to get out of the way of Skoglund’s jab, and his corner not providing the necessary adjustments to neglect his opponent’s best weapon, the fight became increasingly close. As the fight intensified, Smith dug down and willed himself out of calamity as the fight progressed to the later rounds.
In the 11th, Smith was able to floor Skoglund for only the second time in his career which sealed the deal when it came to the eye test, but by then, the scores were so far in his favor that defeat on the cards would have been unlikely.
Smith will face off against the winner of George Groves and Jamie Cox in the next leg of the tournament, but considering how stern of a test the unheralded Skoglund was for Smith, it will behoove trainer Joe Gallagher and Smith to come up with a much better game plan the next time out, which will be against a more seasoned and difficult opponent than Skoglund.