Today at 5 pm ET on ITV Box Office in the United Kingdom and various other outlets around the world, the World Boxing Super Series semifinal round concludes with the second super middleweight matchup, as Callum Smith takes on late replacement opponent Nieky Holzken in Germany.
Smith (23-0, 17 KO) was set to face Jürgen Brähmer in this fight, but Brähmer pulled out of the bout this week, leaving Holzken (13-0, 10 KO), a former kickboxing champion and really a novice pro boxer, to step in.
Needless to say, Smith is the heavy favorite here, as he’s a top contender in the super middleweight division, but Holzken will no doubt be coming to fight and shock the world, and if he can throw Smith off his game early, who knows? Maybe we’ve got a shot at a big time upset.
The winner of this fight moves on to face George Groves, the WBA titleholder, in the tournament final.
- Callum Smith def. Nieky Holzken by unanimous decision (118-110, 117-111, 117-111)
Callum Smith vs Nieky Holzken
Round 1: Smith jabbing early, Holzken looking to land something big. Holzken falls down throwing power punches. He’s certainly here to bang. And he’s not far off on some right hands, either. Smith’s jab won the round but Holzken is here to fight, and that’s all you can ask in his position. Smith 10-9
Round 2: Smith jabbing, jabbing, jabbing. Working in some punches behind the jab now, including an uppercut and a big hook to the body. Holzken is outclassed here, as expected. It’s just a huge step up in class for him in boxing. He did land a couple shots, and he’s there. Smith 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Holzken with an early right hand counter to the jab, but Smith staying on the jab, wisely. Smith with some body work. Smith’s nose bleeding a bit. Good uppercut from Smith breaks the guard, but Holzken fires a left hook right back. Smith starting to dig on these body shots and sit down on more shots in general. Good combination of shots from Smith at the end of the round, including a borderline body shot that pushed Holzken back. Smith 10-9, 30-27
Round 4: Holzken comes out brawling to start the round, just letting it fly. Now trying to taunt Smith into a mistake. Smith keeps jabbing. He’s in complete control. The difference in levels is very obvious. Smith is landing a good amount of strong shots, Holzken staying right in front of him. You have to admire the effort. But I think these body shots in particular may add up sooner than later. Smith 10-9, 40-36
Round 5: Smith jabbing, Holzken throwing bombs, Smith lands a real good body shot. But damn if Nieky Holzken isn’t just coming right to Smith. I mean, it’s hurting him, really, but it’s the only chance he has, too. Smith with a nice four-punch combo. Smith with another body shot, and a right hand back from Holzken. He’s got Smith to the ropes, where he wants to unload. And he tries. Good left body shot from Holzken. Smith’s still winning this round, but more and more I have a ton of respect for what Holzken is doing. And he had easily his best round here, too. Smith 10-9, 50-45
Round 6: Holzken continues trying to pressure, but Smith controls the tempo entirely. After a dicier fifth round, Smith really looking to impose his will early in the sixth. He’s got Holzken moving backwards a bit more now. Smith 10-9, 60-54
Round 7: Holzken picking up the tempo a bit more again, the sixth was real tough for him due to the Smith jab, and Smith is staying with that jab. But Nieky is charging here and there. It’s still the Callum Smith jab controlling things. Good couple of shots from Holzken at the end of the round. He’s fighting his heart out, which is keeping this watchable, because he’s still in there competing even if he’s clearly losing. Smith 10-9, 70-63
Round 8: Smith continues to keep this fight well in hand. I’m running out of things to say — Smith is jabbing his way to victory, working to the body enough to keep Holzken well off balance offensively, and exploiting his advantages. Smith 10-9, 80-72
Round 9: Holzken doing a bit better again this round, finding some of the distance he’d prefer and letting his hands go a bit more. Stoppage in the final minute to fix the tape on Holzken’s glove. Smith stays away late in the round, keeping Holzken from potentially stealing the round with something big, as Joe Gallagher advised after it happened in the last two rounds. Smith 10-9, 90-81
Round 10: More of Smith using his jab as a very effective range keeper. He’s been very professional tonight, taken no big risks, just boxed his way to an almost certain victory. It’s not the most exciting thing imaginable, and he might have been able to afford a risk or three, but he and his team are more concerned with just winning. Which is fine, of course. Holzken never had a chance against this performance. Smith 10-9, 100-90
Round 11: Jab, jab, jab, jab, jab, jab, jab. Holzken with the effort but little real success. Even when Holzken lands or grazes with something kinda flashy, Smith is right there to pop him again. Nice right uppercut from Smith, Holzken eats it. Smith 10-9, 110-99
Round 12: Holzken trying his best for a miracle, but it’s not coming. No reason for Smith to take a chance now, what’s he going to do at this point that makes this any more impressive? So he’s fighting very sensibly, even cautiously. Holzken marching forward and winging power shots. Not really landing much, but he’s grazing shots. There’s one that gets through with Smith on the ropes, but Smith is smiling and knows it’s a matter of time. I’m giving this round to Holzken because it makes no difference. I could have given every round to him and been wrong and made no difference, actually. Holzken 10-9, Smith 119-109