Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) met the Swedish press at an Open Gym session today in Stockholm and talked about sparring Danish legend Mikkel Kessler and feeling confident ahead of facing Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) in the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series in Liverpool, September 16.
“The preparations are going very well,” said Skoglund. “I am in the shape of my life and I need to be because Callum Smith is the toughest opponent I could ask for.”
Former five-time world champion, Danish ‘Viking Warrior’ Mikkel Kessler has been a world class sparring partner for Skoglund in the build up for the Swedes first fight since moving down from light heavy to super middleweight to get a chance to get his hands on the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
“The last week the living legend Mikkel Kessler sparred with me. I have sparred with him before when he faced Carl Froch for the second time in 2013, and I can really feel how much I have developed.”
“Like then the sparring this week was unbelievable good. Kessler is a clever fighter, he knows his game. He has good footwork, good head movement, good punches. Good left hook to the head and body. He is not too unlike Callum Smith,” said Skoglund.
Smith selected Skoglund as his quarter-final opponent during the Draft Gala on July 8 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. With under four weeks to the fight at the Echo Arena Skoglund is ready to cause a stir against one of the favorites for the tournament.
“I am full of confidence ahead of fighting Callum Smith. I don’t feel any pressure. The pressure is on Callum, everyone expects him to shine in Liverpool, but I’m happy to be the underdog. I’m relaxed and ready to steal the shine and create the surprise.”