This Weekend we have the last semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) taking place in Arena Nurnberger Versicherung, Germany between WBC Diamond super-middleweight Champion Callum Smith (23-0, 17KOs) and Jurgen Brahmer replacement Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10KOs).
I cannot help but feel aggrieved for the Liverpudlian who must be one of the most unluckiest fighters around at the moment. He is completely underrated and has flown in under the radar amungst the casual boxing fan.
Firstly, he was on the cusp of a World title fight against Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24KOs) for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title which was scheduled for September 9 in Los Angeles.
Due to a disagreement between the Dirrell camp and Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn the fight stalled. The Brit opted to enter the WBSS with the hope that Dirrell would also join but unfortunately the American refused which in turn lost Smith the chance to fight for major world title.
Secondly, after picking and defeating undefeated Erick Skoglund (26-1, 12KOs) in the quarter-final of the WBSS he was ready to finally get that big name on his resume against German veteran Jurgen Brahmer (49-3, 35KOs).
Considering the Merseysider was the number two seed behind George Groves surely a fight in his hometown would have been the fair option or at least at a natural venue? Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher expressed his opinion and I had to agree as Germany is well known for its contentious decisions. In the end promoter Kalle Sauerland announced that the fight would take place in Germany.
Thirdly, just four days before his scheduled bout against Brahmer the 39-year old had to withdraw due to a bad case of influenza. Certainly unfortunate for the German but even more so for ‘Mundo’ misses out on another big name through no fault of his own. Now he will fight the lesser known Dutch kick-boxer come boxer Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10KOs).
If Callum Smith does make the final and let’s face it he should, it wouldn’t surprise me if come June George Groves pulls out of the final due to his dislocated shoulder paving the way for the Brit to go on and win the tournament without fighting any top level opponents.
There are some guys that would consider that lucky but for a fighter like Smith that comes from a fighting family it would be completely unlucky.
Hopefully Smith’s luck changes and he is able to really showcase his skills against the unknown Dutchman and move into the final against Groves where he will finally get the recognition I truly believe he deserves.
With all that being said Smith is in good spirits and looking forward to his semi-final, Callum Smith said:
“I came here to book a place in the final. I have had a really good camp, and I have improved on stuff from the last fight and people will see a better performance from me. People will see that I am good enough to win the tournament. I just want to win, win well and look good doing it.”
When asked about the potential of fighting Groves in the final ‘Mundo’ added:
“Yeah, it’s motivating. I always knew from the start of the tournament that there was a massive opportunity that George would be waiting in the final. But for now I am fully focused on Nieky, and then I can talk more about Groves after the fight.”
Callum’s opponent and serious underdog Nieky Holzken said:
“It is great to be here. My life has been like a rollercoaster the last days. I was preparing to fight Dmitrii Chudinov, and on Monday I got the call that Juergen Braehmer was out. So this is a lifetime opportunity, and I will take the opportunity with both hands. I’m ready!”
“Callum is a good fighter and respectful guy. But I am a big believer and I believe I can get the victory on Saturday. I am going to do my best to beat him and my best to win the whole tournament.”