World Boxing Super Series: Callum Smith faces new opponent Nieky Holzken in semi-final

Boxing

Callum Smith will fight unbeaten Dutchman Nieky Holzken in Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series semi-final after Juergen Braehmer pulled out through illness.

Unbeaten Liverpudlian Smith was due to face 39-year-old Braehmer in front of the German’s home crowd in Nuremburg on Saturday – with the winner facing George Groves in the final.

However, Braehmer has been struggling with flu and the former light-heavyweight world champion has been forced to pull out of the contest.

"We got the call as we were boarding the plane," said 27-year-old Smith.

"I am committed to fighting on Saturday and will fight whoever the World Boxing Super Series puts in front of me."

Reserve

That man will be WBSS reserve Holzken – a 34-year-old Dutchman who was scheduled to fight Russia's Dmitrii Chudinov on the undercard of Smith’s bout with Braehmer.

"I signed up as a substitute fighter so I'm in great shape and prepared for Saturday,” said former kickboxer Holzken. “I've watched Callum fight many times.

"I study everyone in my weight division. He's a good, solid fighter. We're both big body punchers. Callum, you better be ready, because I am, and I'm coming to beat you."

Holzken has won all 13 of his professional fights since converting from kickboxing, and awkwardly is an orthodox fighter as opposed to southpaw Braehmer who Smith had been planning for.

"I have been battling a feverish infection since Sunday," explained Braehmer. "Unfortunately, a fight in this state is out of the question.

"It is not possible for me to go into the ring like this and I would like to apologise to my fans. I was well-prepared and looking forward to fighting Callum."

The winner is scheduled to face Groves in the London final in June, however, Groves is facing a race against time to be fit after sustaining a dislocated shoulder during his entertaining win over Chris Eubank Jr on Saturday.

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