Callum Smith says Ben Whittaker’s ‘antics’ are disrespectful to journeyman opponents | Nick Potts and John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Callum Smith says Ben Whittaker’s ‘antics’ are disrespectful to journeyman opponents.

Callum Smith says that light heavyweight prospect Ben Whittaker “needs to do the basics a bit better,” and says he finds the way he showboats against journeyman opponents “disrespectful.”

Whittaker, 26, has earned plenty of attention for his style of fighting over his first seven pro fights, following a silver medal win at the Tokyo Olympics, but while he has criticisms — which are shared by many — Smith says he does believe Whittaker is a legitimate talent.

“Ben Whittaker’s antics aren’t my cup of tea. He’s trying to be like Naseem Hamed but Naz was doing it at Madison Square Garden in world title fights, not against journeymen,” Smith told William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast.

“I do think he is a great talent, he’s a very good fighter and I think he’ll go to the top. He just needs to do the basics a bit better and get rid of his opponents. If he can do that at the highest level with all of his showboating as well then fair play.

“At the moment he’s only doing it against journeymen who have finished their days work and then gone to be an opponent for him. They’re there to help him out, not to beat him — I think it is disrespectful. Prince Naseem did it at the highest level, but then again he was a one-off. I think he should just go about his business at the moment, but talent-wise he is a very good fighter and will go to the highest level.

“He is well known now compared to the other Olympians because of his character and although he is showboating, he is putting in good performances as well. Who am I to tell him to stop?”

Whittaker (7-0, 5 KO) most recently fought on Mar. 31 in London, winning an eight-round decision over Leon Willings. Smith (29-2, 21 KO) is, of course, a former super middleweight titlist who lost his most recent fight, a challenge for Artur Beterbiev’s three light heavyweight titles on Jan. 13 in Quebec City.

And though it may seem miles apart, given the fact that Whittaker is 26 and Smith is 33, it’s not out of the question that we could see these two fight down the line. In theory, it would probably be Whittaker on the way up against a credible name on the way down, but I wouldn’t count it out for 2026 or so.

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