'Deontay Wilder faces a Luis Ortiz test and Callum Smith can excel against John Ryder'

Wilder is the only man to have beaten Ortiz in his 32-fight career
Wilder is the only man to have beaten Ortiz in his 32-fight career

Callum Smith can move closer to being the "best boxer in Britain" but Deontay Wilder may face a tricky test on a busy Saturday night, according to 5 Live Boxing's Mike Costello.

Liverpool's Smith, 29, returns to his home city as a world champion for the first time and insists he will not let his dreams of huge future fights vanish when he faces Londoner John Ryder.

Smith, the WBA world super-middleweight champion, starts as a 1-25 favourite with bookmakers for a bout which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from the M&S Bank Arena.

Wilder, meanwhile, will defend the WBC world heavyweight title for a 10th time if he overcomes Luis Ortiz in Las Vegas and the American - who has 40 stoppage wins from 42 contests - has warned he only needs "two seconds" to land a knockout blow.

A rematch, a diet and an elite Wilder

Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz

Both Smith-Ryder and Wilder-Ortiz - which should start at around 04:00 GMT from the MGM Grand - will have live-text coverage on the BBC Sport website.

Any win for Alabama's Wilder will enhance calls for a rematch with Tyson Fury to be confirmed, though there are many in boxing who feel the slated date of 22 February is unrealistic given the three-month turnaround.

But 40-year-old Ortiz troubled Wilder when they first fought in 2018 before the champion found a 10th-round knockout, paving the way for his thrilling draw with Fury in December.

"I see not necessarily a similar fight to last time but I do see Ortiz again giving Wilder plenty to think about," said BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello.

"One of the differences this time is Wilder goes there having had 12 rounds against Fury. A lot has been said on how that 12-round experience must benefit Fury but very little has been said on how it would benefit Wilder as that was only the second 12 rounds he had done. I think he will have grown from that.

"I just think the calibre and pedigree of Ortiz, even at 40, means there is enough skill and guile to give Wilder problems, certainly for the first half of the fight.

"What I like about Wilder is that he gets it done. Even against Fury you can argue he didn't deserve the draw but I have watched back that replay of the 12th-round knockdown many times and the way he throws the two punches, he follows Fury's chin. It is carefully placed work and yet he is often dismissed as a wild swinger with no boxing ability.

"He can be out-boxed by Anthony Joshua and Fury but against any one of the heavyweights in the world Wilder is no less than an even money shot."

Wilder has outlined the diet that fuels his ferocious power during fight week and pointed to egg muffins, boiled eggs, Polish sausage and two steaks a day as just some of the components.

Ortiz looks visibly leaner than when he scaled 241lbs when the pair fought 20 months ago but in analysing his opponent's physique Wilder said: "I don't think it is going to matter when you're dealing with a fighter like me.

"I know I am the best in the world. I say it with confidence and pride. Ortiz is one of the best in the world.

"Don't blink. This will not go the distance so get your popcorn, get your pizza, don't drop your cell phone as you don't want to look up and ask what happened? These guys have to be perfect for 12 rounds, I have to be perfect for two seconds."

Is Smith Britain's best?

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Fatherhood has changed my goals - Callum Smith

While Wilder has served up colourful and at times controversial comments during his career, Britain's Smith has become known as a silent but brilliant fighter.

He captured his first world title by stopping George Groves in 2018 and speculation he could feature in high-profile bouts with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin or Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has followed him since.

"The Canelo fight is the biggest one," Smith told BBC Sport. "He's the biggest name in boxing. Will it happen or not? I doubt it. There's a queue of 50 who want that fight. I won't waste my career chasing a fight that may never come.

"If I lose to Ryder everything people are talking about disappears. That's the only motivation I need."

Smith v Ryder will be broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live
Smith v Ryder will be broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live

Ryder, 31, faces a substantial height disadvantage of around six inches but is in fine recent form while Smith has competed just once in the last 14 months.

"I think potentially Smith would be the best boxer in Britain right now if there had been momentum behind his career," added Costello.

"The body of work Josh Warrington has put together has to be recognised. Smith, with momentum, this guy could become a superstar.

"I think this weekend is one of those occasions where a boxer can lose more than one fight in one night. If he doesn't get it right against Ryder he loses the potential of maybe facing Canelo, Saunders or Golovkin.

"One particular part of his make up that may be key is he tends to kind of block punches on his left hand and almost in an instant throws a left hook into the space his opponent has left open.

"Ryder, being a southpaw, if he throws the jab with his right hand and Smith catches it and goes quickly over the top, that could be key. I think he will just hit too hard for Ryder and I expect a Smith win."

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Callum Smith takes on the 12-second challenge

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