The WBC scheduled two purse bids today: one between super lightweight champion Josh Taylor and mandatory challenger Jose Zepeda, which was rendered moot after Taylor elected to ditch his belt at the last minute, and another for a final eliminator between top-ranked light heavyweights Callum Smith and Mathieu Bauderlique. There were no surprises in that one, as Matchroom walked away with the rights thanks to a $1,069,000 offer.
Eddie Hearn previously revealed that he intended to stage Smith’s (28-1, 20 KO) next fight alongside the August 20th Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua rematch, and there’s no reason to think his plans have changed.
It’s a decent matchup, certainly a step up from Smith’s annihilation of Lenin Castillo last year. Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KO) was a strong amateur who claimed Bronze at Rio 2016 and has won nine straight since a shock 2017 knockout loss to Dragan Lepei, including a selling-induced stoppage of Igor Mikhalkin last September. He doesn’t look like a world-beater, but he’s good enough to give Smith a decent fight.
The winner will be “rewarded” with a mandated shot at Artur Beterbiev, though he’ll have to wait until after Beterbiev deals with Anthony Yarde and/or Dmitry Bivol.