WBC Diamond titlist Callum Smith did not dazzle as he outscored late notice substitute Nieky Holzken in Nuremberg on Saturday (February 24). The Dutchman, a kickboxer turned professional boxer, stepped in when original opponent Juergen Braehmer withdrew during the week of the fight.
Holzken was not expected to trouble Smith and therefore impressed by gamely going the distance. “I think I won more today than I lost today,” the Dutchman said.
The Liverpudlian had to win to reach the World Boxing Super Series final and get his shot at WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves.
Smith maintained that as far as his latest fight is concerned, it was mission accomplished in Nuremberg. “I didn’t make a statement,” he admitted, “but I did what I came here to do, that was to win a place in the final, that was the main objective regardless of who was in the other corner. There was a lot of pressure on me to book my place in the final. Job done. I wasn’t there to take any chances. I boxed well, used my jab and just stuck to the basics and didn’t take any chances. I’ve done what I came here to do, book my place in the final, fight George Groves, a massive fight and the fight that I’ve wanted since the tournament was mentioned.”
According to Compubox, Smith broke the super-middleweight record for jabs thrown in a fight.
He now looks forward to the final against Groves, his overall goal. “I turned professional to become a world champion, I’m fighting for a world title for my next fight in a huge fight back at home in England. It’s what dreams are made of,” Smith said. “It’s a good fight, George is a good fighter.”
He added, “I’m going to need to improve on tonight’s performance, but I will.”