SB: Hi Callum, you’re scheduled to box for the European light heavyweight title in March, what’s your thoughts on your opponent Igor Mikhalkin & how did the opportunity to box for the European title arise?
CJ: He looks to be a very good boxer from what I’ve seen , a solid Russian southpaw so you know it’s not gunna be an easy night, I was made mandatory for the European title.
SB: You’ve held the Commonwealth & British light heavyweight titles during your career, how much would winning the European title mean to you alongside those accomplishments?
CJ: It would be fantastic to add the European to the other two. It would only leave me with one more to get for the full collection. The European title is the second best title in boxing after the world and it’s something I’d be very proud of winning.
SB: It’ll be a year almost to the day since your last bout by the time you next step into the ring Callum, can you take us through why it’s been such a while in between bouts & does a spell of inactivity worry you in the build up to returning to the ring in such a high profile fight?
CJ: I’ve been injured which has kept me out of the ring after a good start to 2019 and I was just getting my career going.
The time out doesn’t bother me at all, it can sometimes help you. I had 18 months out of the ring before boxing Buglioni for the British title and we all know what happend there so the time out really doesn’t bother me. Don’t get me wrong though I don’t plan on having anymore breaks or long periods between fights.
SB: If we can go back to that Frank Buglioni fight (a first round KO victory), a fight many may have had you as an underdog going into, just how special was that victory & the manner in which you got the win with everything going on away from boxing, like you mention the 18 months away etc?
CJ: It was nice to win the belt and show people abit of what I can do. The fact of beating Frank wasn’t really too satisfying as I always knew I was on a different level to him anyway.
It was just nice to finally be back in the ring having overcome a serious dark patch in my life to be king of Britain and the manner of the way I did it just topped it off.
SB: Looking forward to the rest of 2020 what fights can we expect to see you in? There’s such a prospering & bubbling domestic division with plenty of good fights to be had or are you looking more towards getting back into contention at world level?
CJ: Well my only focus for now is the European title because I need to win that. I believe I’ll get another world title fight if I win the European.
Then a fight between me and (Joshua) Buatsi is inevitably going to happen, most probably back end of this year or early next. It all depends what happens and what opportunities come up.
SB: After fighting the newly unified world champion Artur Beterviev and knocking him down in the way you did, how do you rate his skills but also his vulnerabilities?
CJ: I don’t believe he has any vulnerabilities really apart from everyone is beatable somehow. He’s human at the end of the day and I punch very very hard. His skills are obviously very good being a world amateur champion. His strength is also tremendous aswell. At the end of the day he’s a top 10 p4p fighter and I come up short but as crazy as it may sound to some I do believe I could win that fight. I believe on my day I can beat anyone in the world. I have tremendous power and strength myself, it doesn’t matter who you are or how good you are if you get hit with the kind of power I can produce your going over.
SB: Can I get your thoughts on Canelo’s foray into the 175lb division & his victory over Sergei Kovalev, Canelo is recognised as arguably the most popular boxer on the planet currently..
CJ: Yeah he’s definitely the face of boxing. He’s like the new (Floyd) Mayweather – the money fight for everyone. Unbelievable really what he did to come up and beat Kovalev but it isn’t the same Kovalev of 2/3 years ago so it (the win) was half expected.
SB: In that respect do you believe Sergei Kovalev was cherry picked rather than Canelo looking for a fight with another champion such as Artur Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol who are pretty much in there peak?
CJ: Yeah 100% but can you really call a light heavyweight world champion cherry picked? I mean it is a marvellous thing what he did but he was never going to be going in there with Beterbiev let’s be honest.
SB: Looking at the light heavy division domestically, what’s your take on the Golden Contract tournament?
CJ: I think it’s a fantastic tournament and the way it’s set up is brilliant. No one knows who there fighting until two days before so it’s very exciting waiting for the draw etc for the fans.
SB: Who’s your money on to emerge victorious & claim the Golden Contract?
CJ: Hosea Burton all day long!
SB: To finish Callum, can I ask you to plan out how, in an ideal world, the final stages of your career will play out…
CJ: Be active, earn a right few quid and finish up with a world title.
Luke Carney of SimBoxx🥊
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