Callum Smith says he will now have to assess his future in boxing after his stoppage defeat to Arthur Beterbiev.
The win sees the 39-year-old maintain his remarkable 100 per cent knockout streak in boxing, having stopped all 20 of his opponents to date with Smith the latest to join that list.
The prospect of a mouth-watering undisputed title showdown with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol now looms large with expectation the two will meet with all four world titles on the line later in the year.
In his post-fight interview with Sky Sports, a crestfallen Smith admitted it was difficult to accept ‘not being the best’ after being left battered and bruised by the champion.
The former super-middleweight champion, whose only other professional defeat came against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2020, suggested he will now take time to consider whether he has the motivation to launch another title charge.
‘I am used to being the best and accepting I’m not is a hard one to take. But the better man one today. He stopped me getting any momentum,’ he said.
‘He is not the hardest to hit. He’s pretty readable. Whether he felt any [of my punches] I’m not too sure. But he’s world champion for a reason.’
Asked about his future, Smith continued: ‘I’ve always set the bar very high, I have always wanted to be the best, I have always believed I was the best and now it is hard to accept that I’m not.
‘I have got an amazing family at home, I have given a lot to boxing, win or lose, I didn’t want to stay in boxing a long time.
‘I can’t make any decisions but now it is time to assess the future, see if I’ve got any goals to motivate me to go the gym. If not… we’ll see.
‘For now I will go spent time with my family, I have got two little ones at home and I have missed them this week.
‘So I am going to go spend time with them then we will see what the future holds.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.