Callum Smith returns to the USA to make first title defense against Hassan N’Dam
Back in the squared circle for the first time since fulfilling his dream and winning the WBA super middleweight title, Callum Smith will make the first defense of his title against former middleweight titleholder Hassan N’Dam on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua versus Andy Ruiz Jr. main event June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) picked up his belt last September with a dramatic knockout of George Groves in Saudi Arabia in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series. He’s anxious to get back in the ring.
“I’ve had a good camp and I’m looking forward to walking to the ring as a world champion for the first time in my career," said Smith. "I worked so hard to get where I am and now the task is to keep hold of my titles and target those big fights. To have my first defense at Madison Square Garden is going to be special and it’s another box ticked.
“People call it the ’Mecca of Boxing’ and I’ve always seen it as a venue that I’d love to fight at one day,” added Smith.
Two years ago, N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) captured the vacant WBA middleweight crown by winning a split-decision over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata in Japan. A rematch went down seven months later with Murata winning by stoppage. His other losses were at the hands of Peter Quillin in 2012, and David Lemieux, who knocked him down a combined nine times. His most recent out was last December when he edged perennial middleweight challenger Martin Murray in 12-round eliminator.
"N’Dam is a good fighter and he’s a former world champion,” Smith said. “He’s only lost to three top fighters and he’s got some great wins on his record," Smith said. "I had him over in England to help me prepare for George Groves so we know each other well.
“He’s a good mover, has good footwork and can move around the ring pretty well. Experience is on his side and he’s an awkward guy to face. Saying that, he’s definitely a fighter that I should beat and get rid of if I’m on my game."
N’Dam is equally as confident as Smith.
"I am confident I will create a big surprise in New York," said N’Dam.” "It is a true privilege for me to be given the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time in my life. I am so pleased and proud for this opportunity to be offered to me and I would like to add that even though the challenge is a big one, this does not affect my focus and my determination. Callum Smith is an excellent boxer with many qualities as he is tall he can impose his own boxing style on most of his opponents.”