Callum Smith (23-0. 17 KOs) and Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs) faced off for the first time at a media workout before their Trophy Semi-Final on Saturday at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series)
“I am stepping up to meet one of the big guys in the super middleweight division,” said Holzken at the public workout. “But the fans can expect the unexpected on Saturday. I am here to beat Callum Smith.”
Callum Smith’s original opponent Germany’s Juergen Braehmer revealed yesterday he would be unable to compete in the semi-final because of a feverish infection.
The World Boxing Super Series’ format meant unbeaten Holzken was already on standby as a reserve.
After months of preparations, WBC Diamond Champion Callum Smith was forced to switch focus to a new challenge.
“Holzken looks like a good fighter,” said Smith after watching Holzken hitting the pads. “It really doesn’t matter who I am facing on Saturday. I wasn’t happy about my performance against Erik Skoglund in the quarter-final, but this time I will make a statement. Not only to the boxing fans, but also to George Groves. I want to put on a good show on Saturday,” said Smith.
Tickets for exciting match-up Smith vs. Holzken are available via eventim.de.
AIRING LIVE IN CANADA THIS SATURDAY EXCLUSIVELY ON SUPER CHANNEL
World Boxing Council (WBC) Diamond champion Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) takes on late replacement Nieky “The Natural” Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs) this Saturday in the last World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semifinals-round match in the super middleweight division, at Nurnberger Versicherung Arena in Nuremburg, Germany
The Smith vs. Holzken card, starting at 2 p.m. ET, will air live in Canada, exclusively on Super Channel.
Holzken, an undefeated Dutch prospect, has replaced two-time world champion Juergen Braehmer, of Germany, who withdrew from the WBSS semifinals match due to illness.
“I have been battling a feverish infection since Sunday,” Braehmer explained. “Unfortunately, a fight in this state is out of the questions. It is not possible for me to go into the ring like this and I would like to apologize to my fans. I was well prepared and looking forward to fighting Callum.”
The Smith-Holzken winner will advance to the WBSS super middleweight championship final against World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) Super Middleweight World Champion “Sir” George Groves (28-3, KOs), of the United Kingdom, June 2 at The O2 Arena in London, in a battle for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Super Channel acquired the exclusive rights in Canada to broadcast the World Boxing Super Series from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
Smith was the least tested WBSS semifinalist in terms of having faced quality opponents, as well as the youngest at 27. The undefeated Brit is one of four fighting Smith brothers.
In the WBSS quarterfinals, Smith took a 12-round unanimous decision from previously unbeaten Erik Skoglund to capture the World Boxing Council (WBC) Diamond super middleweight title.
“I gave an interview last week and said it was great there have been no drop-outs,” Smith said. “Looks like I spoke too soon. We got the call as we were boarding the plane. I am committed to fighting Saturday and will fight whoever the World Boxing Super series puts in front of me.”
The 34-year-old Holzken was preparing to fight Dmitri Chudinov in Saturday’s WBSS Super Middleweight Substitute Fight. He has had only four scheduled 10-round matches during his five-year professional career, the most notable being a win by 10-round unanimous decision in 2016 over Farouk Daku (20-9-1) for the vacant BeNeLux super middleweight title.
Holzken is determined to make the most of this opportunity by upsetting Smith, despite his obvious leap in class. “I’ve been waiting for this chance to come,” Holzken commented. “I signed up as a substitute fighter, so I’m in great shape and prepared for Saturday. I’ve watched Callum fight many times. I study everyone in my weight class. He’s a good, solid fighter. We’re both big body punchers. It will make for an excellent fight. Callum, you better be ready, because I am, and I’m coming to beat you!”
Five exciting fights on the “Smith-Holzken” card, presented by Sauerland Event, will air exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
In the 10-round WBSS Substitute Fight, Dmitrii “Night Wolf” Chudinov (20-2, 13 KOs), of Russia, faces an opponent to be determined in the co-featured event. 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic (3-0, 3 KOs), of Croatia, faces Irishman Sean “Big Sexy” Turner (12-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round bout; former WBC Youth light heavyweight champion James Kraft (13-0, 9 KOs), of Germany, meets Cameroon native Bernard Donfack (23-17-3, 11 KOs) in an eight round super middleweight match; 19-year-old German super middleweight Leon Bauer (12-0-1, 8 KOs) squares off with Marco Miano (6-6, 2 KOs), of Italy, in a six-round fight to open the Super Channel broadcast. A six-round “swing bout” between German super middleweight Toni Kraft (12-0-1, 4 Kos) and Hungarian Jozsef Racz (7-20-1, 2 KOs) may also be aired.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
January 27, Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia – WBO/WBC Unification
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), Ukraine
WMDEC12 (115-113, 115-113, 114-114).
Mairis Briedis (23-1, 18 KOs), Latvia
(Usyk retained his WBO title and won the WBC championship)
February 3, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia – IBF/WBA Unification
Murat “Iron” Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), Russia
Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos (21-1, 20 KOs), Cuba
(Gassiev retained his IBF title and won WBA championship)
February 17, Manchester, Arena, Manchester, UK – WBA/IBO Unification
“Saint” George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), United Kingdom
WDEC12 (117-112, 116-112, 115-113)
Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs), IBO World Champion, United Kingdom
(Groves retained his WBA title and won IBO championship)
February 24, Nurnberger Versicherung Arena, Nuremburg, Germany
Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs), United Kingdom – Ring #3
(WBC Diamond Super Middleweight Champion)
vs.Nieky “The Natural” Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs), Netherlands
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
May 11, 2018, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – WBC/WBC/WBA/IBF/Ring Unification
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), WBO/WBC Champion, Ukraine – Ring #1
vs.Murat “Iron” Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), WBA/IBF Champion, Russia – Ring #2
June 2, 2018, The O2 Arena, London, United Kingdom – WBA/IBO Unification
“Saint” George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), United Kingdom, WBA/IBO Champion – Ring #2
vs.Callum Smith-Nieky Holzken winner
All WBSS semifinals and championship fights will also be available on Super Channel On Demand.
In addition to all the WBSS quarterfinal and semifinals matches, Super Channel aired major boxing events live in 2017 like Brook vs. Spence Jr., Pacquiao-Horn, Eubank, Jr. vs. Abraham, Lomachenko vs.Marriaga, Crawford vs. Indongo and Smith vs. Williams II.
To watch all the World Boxing Super Series action live, as well as more exciting boxing to come, fight fans in Canada can contact their local cable provider to subscribe to Super Channel and all that it offers, including premium series, movies and much more, for as low as $9.95 per month.