Smith scraps with Mohoumadi for world title shot, Theophane tackles Broner despite warrants
Lee Gormley | March 31, 2016
Hadiliah Mohoumadi v Callum Smith
- WBC super-middleweight title eliminator, EBU and WBC Silver title fight
- Saturday, April 2nd
- Scheduled for: 22:00 BST
- Echo Arena, Liverpool
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Smith can step closer to world title
Callum Smith can take a huge step towards claiming world champion status as he prepares to take on Frenchman Hadiliah Mohoumadi in a WBC super-middleweight title eliminator this Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
In his home city, Smith (18-0, 13 KOs) will look to edge closer to further success within his family, with his sibling Liam having clinched the WBO light-middleweight crown last year and Stephen soon set to challenge for the IBF super-featherweight belt.
The 25-year-old emphatically downed fellow Merseysider Rocky Fielding within the opening round of their bout last November to clinch the British strap, but has bigger ambitions in the near future, as he enters this weekend’s fight at 9/4 with Coral for another knockout in rounds 4-6.
Fear of failure driving on Smith
At a towering 6ft 3in, Smith stands on the cusp of realising his world title dreams in the coming months, with victory over Mohoumadi (20-3-1, 15 KOs) on home soil set to propel him to a match-up with current WBC champion Badou Jack.
With such high stakes involved, the undefeated super-middleweight declared that fear of failure is driving him on in what is the biggest bout of his promising career to date.
“Every fight is a must win for me. If I lose this fight it puts me back, just like it would have done had I lost my last fight,” stated the Liverpudlian, who is 9/2 to end the night prematurely in rounds 1-3.
“It’s alright people saying it, but I have got to prove it,” he said. “There’s no point sitting here in ten years time saying I could have been this and I could have done that. No disrespect to the British or European title but if I don’t win a world title, I will have underachieved.
“The fear of failure, that’s what drives me. There’s no point people saying these things without me backing it up. I won’t really believe it all until it is actually done. People thought it was a foregone conclusion that I’d win a British title but in my eyes it wasn’t, I still had to get in there and do it.”
Mohoumadi an unknown threat
It took less than three minutes for ‘Mundo’ to dispatch Fielding before the turn of the New Year, and the Joe Gallagher trained contender is 20/1 for a second successive first-round stoppage, with Mohoumadi entering the ring as somewhat of an unknown challenger.
“This fella is from France and nobody really knows him so there’s not that much pressure in that sense but it’s still a must win fight,” said Smith of his French foe, who is 9/1 to triumph.
Smith’s rapid rise has seen him become British champion within just three years of turning professional and the highly-talented Liverpool fighter will look to take another successful step towards the ultimate goal with victory on home turf this weekend.
Adrien Broner v Ashley Theophane
- WBA light-welterweight title fight
- Saturday, April 2nd
- Scheduled for: 02:00 BST
- D.C. Armory, Washington
- Live on Spike TV
Broner focused despite legal problems and failed weight
London’s Ashley Theophane challenges for the WBA light-welterweight title this weekend in Washington, while recently stripped champion Adrien Broner will be ineligible for the belt even in victory, having failed to make weight.
This scheduled fight first looked to be in jeopardy due to the former title holder facing recent felony assault and robbery charges in Ohio, before weighing in 4lbs over the limit, meaning he was stripped of his crown.
‘The Problem’ Broner (31-2, 23 KOs) will take to the ring in the early hours of Saturday morning with a pair of active warrants for his arrest, after alleged reports that he assaulted and robbed a man at gunpoint last year, though it is unlikely police will attempt any action before the bout.
Despite the 26-year-old’s ongoing legal issues, the former light-welterweight champion is heavy odds-on 1/33 favourite to prevail and claimed he was fully focused during his appearance at a final press conference.
“To be honest, I didn’t come here to talk today. I wasn’t even going to come to this bulls*** today, to be honest. The fight already sold. As you can see there’s about 10 tickets left. My work is done,” declared Broner.
“It’s fight time…”
“Anything is tough when you have a lot of things coming your way. I have tunnel vision. It’s fight time. I’m locked-in until I get the job done.
“Right now I have to focus on this fight. I’m keeping my mind in the right state. I’m not just doing this for me. It’s for my family. It’s bigger than just me.”
There has been heated build-up due to the added rivalry surrounding this meeting, with Broner coming up against a challenger who is guided by his former mentor Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather adds fuel to fight fire
Under the watchful eye of now-retired Mayweather, Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs) enters as the 10/1 outsider to emerge victorious, and his promoter has once again laid into former friend Broner, labelling him as a ‘snake’.
“Adrien Broner, his nickname is ‘The Problem’ – I think he has a lot of problems,” slammed Mayweather. “One thing I’m trying to find out about Adrien Broner – is he a boxing promoter, is he a rapper or is he a gangster?
“Like I said before, ‘The Problem’, that’s what Adrien Broner likes to call himself, if I’m not mistaken.
“The problem that he really needs to focus on is his problem in Cincinnati. I think the best name for him is not ‘The Problem’, it’s ‘Snake’.”
With Broner facing issues outside of the ring and haplessly failing to make weight, Theophane may see this as further aid to his world title attempt in Washington, as they get ready to square-off at the D.C. Armory, with the light-welterweight crown in sights for the latter Londoner.
Coral’s top tip: Back Callum Smith to stop Hadiliah Mohoumadi in rounds 4-6 at 9/4.