Swede craves Smith rematch: Erik Skoglund interview
Luke G. Williams
Sweden’s Erik Skoglund may have lost to Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series quarter-finals in September but he is full of praise for the tournament, and hopes to meet the Liverpudlian once again in the ring in the future…
Refreshingly dignified and devoid of the trash talk excesses beloved by many a boxer, Swede Erik Skoglund (26-1, 12 KOs) is one of the sport’s true gentlemen.
Although he was eliminated in his first bout of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament against Callum Smith on 16 September, the 26-year-old’s profile and reputation were enhanced by the incredibly tough tussle he engaged in with the pre-tournament favourite.
“Yes,” Skoglund says when asked he enjoyed being a part of the WBSS experience. “Even though I lost in the quarter final I think this was a good step for my career. I believe I did better against Smith than most people expected, and a lot of people actually thought I won that fight.
“I’m still young and I’ve proved myself at the absolute top level. I believe there’s still many interesting fights for me out there. Hopefully I can even earn myself a spot in a future season of the WBSS.”
Skoglund moved down from his usual weight class - light heavyweight – to face Smith at the super-middle limit of 168lbs, admitting that the lure of the WBSS was just too much to resist.
“I just love the concept,” he explains. “The WBSS is kind of boxing’s ‘Champions League’ and you could really feel it all the way from the first draft gala in Monaco. This is something that’s been missing in boxing. Something new, something huge and I really loved taking part in the first ever season.
“I’ve had a good relationship with Team Sauerland for about eight years now, all the way since my debut as a pro fighter. [the WBSS is organised by Comosa AG, which was founded by Highlight Event & Entertainment AG, Modern Times Group MTG AG, and SPAG Sauerland Promotion AG].
"The world of boxing can be really complicated and I am really impressed by the work of the WBSS team and the Sauerland brothers, bringing this together. All the way from the concept to the broadcasters and signing all the fighters. It can’t have been easy, but it feels like a success.
“[The WBSS] looks great, both on TV and at the arenas. I’ve fought every pro fight on a nice set-up show with TV production so maybe I’m a bit spoiled, but even with that in mind you could feel this was special. Everything was very well organised.”
When asked if he believes the WBSS format needs tweaking, Skoglund chooses his words carefully, as befitting his thoughtful nature.
“I believe the WBSS team has people more than suitable for that job, [and is] looking for improvement all the time," he explains. "I personally would have loved the fights to take place on neutral ground with neutral judges and referees - though of course you are speaking to a disappointed guy who fell short aboard after a controversial decision!
"I understand the shows must be held somewhere and that it might be hard to fill the arenas on neutral ground. It might be possible in the future when the WBSS is a worldwide success and people just want to watch great boxing, regardless of the hometown heroes.
“I [also] hope, in the future [that] they will pick more then two weight classes for each season. I think they might, as I’m sure this will grow. If people could find out who is the true number one in each division, once every year, it would be really exciting.”
The next step in Skoglund’s career is unclear at the time of writing.
He had been due to face another Liverpool-born super middle in Rocky Fielding on the undercard of Haye vs Bellew 2, however that contest bit the dust when Haye’s bicep injury caused the card to be cancelled.
However, the Swede says the fight he really craves down the line is a rematch with Smith.
“I believe and I hope Callum Smith has what it takes to go all the way [in the WBSS]," he says. "It’d make me feel better myself and even though I fell short in a close fight with a controversial decision, there’s really no hard feelings between us. I like and respect Callum, [but] I’d do anything for a rematch!”