Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) and Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) had the chance to size each other up today at a media workout at the Rotunda ABC ahead of their hotly anticipated World Boxing Super Series quarter-final clash on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.
Skoglund, who arrived in Liverpool on Sunday, appeared confident as he begins his quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, and while he admits he learnt little from his opponent at today’s media training, the 26 year-old says he has studied Smith and is ready to upset the local fighter in front of his home fans.
‘’I had a nice workout,’’ said Skoglund. ‘’I’m feeling explosive and sharp, and that’s what we are aiming for – to keep that sharpness until Saturday.
‘’I didn’t see too much from Callum today. I was doing my own thing and talking to the press, but from what I did see, he looks good, but of course he looks good, everyone looks good on the pads so you can’t take too much from that, but I’ve been studying his fights. I’ve learnt a lot and I’m confident for Saturday.
‘’I’ve been in Liverpool for a few days now. It’s a nice place. The weather has not been too good, but I’ve had a walk around town. I’ve not had a chance to explore much because all my focus is on the fight. However, hopefully I will win some fans on Saturday night and I can return to Liverpool another time.’’
Smith, who was joined by boxing brothers Paul, Stephen and Liam, watched on as his Swedish rival Skoglund was put through his paces by his father Johan.
‘’I’ve had a good camp,’’ said Smith after his workout. ‘’I feel strong and I’m ready to do a job on Saturday. I’ve watched a lot of Erik and so has my coach Joe Gallagher. We know what he does well and we know what he doesn’t do so well. I’ve got a list of things to do, and as long as I stick to my game plan, I think the best version of me beats the best version of him.’’
Smith, the super middleweight tournament’s second seed, selected Skoglund as his opponent at the live Draft Gala in Monte Carlo in July, and with just days to go before his hometown showdown, the 27 year-old revealed he is still happy with his choice.
‘’I’ve got no regrets. I didn’t pick Erik because he was a bad fighter. I picked him because I thought stylistically he would bring out the best in me, and I stick by that. I think on Saturday you will see a very good performance from myself.
‘’It’s always nice to fight at home. Some of best performances have been at the Echo Arena. I always seem to rise to the occasion and deliver for the fans. I know I’m up against a tough fight but every time I’ve been up against it before, I’ve always come out on top and put in the best performance of my career so far, and I think this weekend will be no different.’’
Tickets for the Smith-Skoglund Muhammad Ali Trophy quarter-final and WBC Diamond World title contest on Saturday, September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool are available at stubhub.com