Smith faces new opponent in World Super Series semi-final after Braehmer shock

Callum Smith

Callum Smith will fight a new opponent in Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series after Juergen Braehmer pulled out with a virus

The Liverpool boxer will instead fight Dutchman Nieky Holzken in Nuremberg.

Nicknamed The Natural, the 34-year-old from Helmond is unbeaten in 13 fights with ten inside the distance.

Smith is the more experienced of the two and looks at least a cut above as he has 17 knockouts in 23 wins with no defeats.

Five of his last six have been inside the distance and he has the punching power to cause real trouble to the man from the Lowlands.

‘I have been battling a feverish infection since Sunday,’ a dejected Braehmer said.

‘Unfortunately, a fight in this state is out of the question. It is not possible for me to go into the ring like this and I would like to apologise to my fans.

‘I was well prepared and looking forward to fighting Callum.’

Smith, while disappointed at the switch, does not appear fazed by the change of opponent.

‘I am committed to fighting on Saturday and will fight whoever the WBSS puts in front of me,’ said the 27-year-old.

‘We got the call as we were boarding the plane (on Monday).’

Promoter Kalle Sauerland believes it will still be a night to remember in Germany at the weekend and said: ‘We are disappointed for Juergen after such as strong showing in his quarter-final fight with Rob Brant.

‘Fortunately, we are prepared for such eventualities and the tournament will move forward with our reserve fighter Nieky Holzken facing Callum Smith in our fourth semi-final.’

The winner in what still promises to be an enthralling encounter between Smith and Holzken is supposed to fight George Groves in the final on June 2.

There has been talk if bringing in a replacement – possibly Chris Eubank Jr – if the WBA super-middleweight champion dies not recover from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the final round of his unanimous points decision over the Brighton boxer.

But Smith’s camp would prefer the showpiece to be postponed for a couple of months in order to fight Groves in a blockbuster Battle if Britain.

‘It would be a shame if Groves isn’t in the final,’ Joe Gallagher, who trains Smith, told BBC Radio 5 live.

‘We’d love George to make a speedy recovery and be ready for 2 June but I do feel common sense will prevail and they may have to reschedule it to July-August time.’

About the Author

Danny Griffiths
A freelance journalist who has worked for local and national newspapers, he has covered boxing across the spectrum including the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand and the 2012 London Olympics. His favourite interviews were lengthy, early morning calls from New York with Paulie Malignaggi... and Mike Tyson.