Callum Smith dominated his fight today in Germany against former kickboxing champion Nieky Holzken, and now moves on to face countryman George Groves this summer in the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament championship.
Holzken (13-1, 10 KO) gave a good accounting of himself, really, but still lost by predictably wide scores, coming in on five days’ notice to replace Jürgen Brähmer in the bout. He was game and kept competing until the very end, but it was a difference in class between what is really a novice pro boxer, one with talent, mind you, and a top super middleweight in Smith (24-0, 17 KO).
Smith dominated the fight with his jab, constantly keeping the range that he wanted, and took scores of 117-111, 117-111, and 118-110. BLH had it just a bit wider, at 119-109 for Smith.
It is now Groves (28-3, 20 KO) awaiting Smith in the final, and you have to say the tournament seeders got it right, as Groves was No. 1 and Smith No. 2 coming into the tournament. That fight will also be for Groves’ WBA title.
Holzken was undeterred, and seemed happy with his performance overall.
“I thought it would be heavier,” Holzken said. “He did a good job with his jab, but I think I hit him the most with power shots. You don’t see him fight backwards a lot, normally he’s the dominator. Today I was the dominator! You’ll see me back!”
He added, speaking of Smith’s jab, “I’m coming from kickboxing, so my body work, I have to work on it. He has fucking long arms, he can keep me at distance. I only had five days’ notice. What would it be like if I had three months to train for this guy?”
“I wanted to fight Jürgen Brähmer, but (Holzken) was game. He was tough, he was strong. Did I underestimate him? Yeah, probably a little bit. But the fight I want is George Groves. That’s the main fight. Tonight was about not taking any chances,” Smith said.
“He kept coming forward. I was landing a lot of jabs. It was just about not slipping up, just boxing, sticking to the basics. I’ve got a win, a good 12 rounds, and the most important thing is I’m in the final.”