The injury woes continue for Matchroom and DAZN as Callum Smith has been forced to withdraw from his headliner against Pawel Stepien.
The card, hosted at the M&S Bank Arena, was set to be Smith’s first fight since August 2022 as he seeks to hold onto his mandatory position for Artur Beterbiev’s WBC Light Heavyweight title.
Matchroom released a statement today confirming that the event would go ahead, with Diego Pacheco and Jack Cullen battling for the vacant WBO super-middleweight title now moved up to the top.
Fight night also features Robbie Davies Jr against Darragh Foley, and the return of heavyweight fan-favourite, Johnny Fisher, as well as Campbell Hatton.
“An injury has forced Callum Smith out of his Light-Heavyweight clash with Pawel Stepien at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on Saturday March 11.
The event will go ahead, shown live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New Zealand), with Diego Pacheco’s WBO International Super-Middleweight Title showdown with Jack Cullen and Robbie Davies Jr’s Super-Lightweight scrap with Darragh Foley now co-headlining.”
Since Smith lost his WBA world title to Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez in the 168lb ranks – the sole defeat of his professional career – he has enjoyed success up at 175lb in the form of two stoppage wins against Gilbert Castillo Rivera and Mathieu Bauderlique.
The Liverpool man is seeking to become a two-weight champion, with Beterbiev the one, formidable obstacle in the way. It’s unclear whether his fight with Stepien will be rescheduled or he’ll push on for the mandatory slot that has been confirmed by the sanctioning body to be next up.
Should Beterbiev manage to meet Dmitry Bivol – the division’s other champion – in an undisputed bout, UK fans will be keen to see Smith in the ring with some of his domestic rivals, Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi both potentials.
The injury news comes just days after Amanda Serrano was forced to pull out of her May 20 fight with Katie Taylor.
The Dublin show was a highlight of Matchroom and DAZN’s six-month schedule, and promoter Eddie Hearn has said that either Taylor will fight against another opponent or he will put on another big event on that date.