- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Super middleweight Callum Smith is one of England’s top prospects, but hand surgery has kept him sidelined since an impressive sixth-round knockout performance against former world title challenger Ruben Acosta in October.
He injured his left hand in the win against Acosta.
So Smith (9-0, 7 KOs), 23, is eager to get back to work and is slated to face France’s Francois Bastient (43-10-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, on the undercard of junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg’s defense against Tshifhiwa Munyai.
If Smith wins Saturday’s scheduled six-round bout and is uninjured, he is due back May 17 in Cardiff, Wales, on the undercard of the Lee Selby-Romulo Koasicha featherweight title eliminator.
“I am really eager to get back in the ring,” Smith said. “I was very active in my first year as a pro so that made the six months I have been out feel a lot longer. It has been frustrating, but I think the first few months did me good to have a bit of a rest. But I didn’t want to have six months out. I wasn’t able to train as much as I wanted to during those six months. The first few months I could only do running and swimming, but I do feel that I benefited from doing quite a bit of that, and some circuit stuff.
“I started do some light punching and it has only been the last few weeks that I started to punch properly. It has been frustrating because the main thing you want to do is punch, but I worked hard on other things and I feel the benefits from those now.”