Callum Smith to face a new opponent for a place in WBSS final

Callum Smith Media Workout

Juergen Braehmer has pulled out of facing Callum Smith on Saturday in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final.

After managing to keep himself healthy for almost the whole WBSS tournament, illness appears to have struck Braehmer and the German has withdrawn four days before the fight in Nuremberg.

Nevertheless, Smith, 27, will still have to fight for a place in the final of the Muhammad Ali trophy.

World Boxing Super Series rules state that a new opponent should be drafted in if 39-year-old Braehmer's withdrawal is confirmed.

And it would appear Dutch super-middleweight kickboxer Nieky Holzken, with a record of 13-0, is the most likely replacement to face Smith in Nuremberg.

Holzken said: "I've been waiting for this chance to come. 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 division. 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!”

The original match-up was being staged in Germany due to Braehmer's stature and television revenue in the country, but news of the withdrawal is likely to reduce the local interest significantly.

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Of course, that should mean the Liverpudlian is set for a much more comfortable night than he otherwise would have been against the veteran Braehmer.

Fighting a guy with less experience who has had such short notice will significantly boost Smith's chances of progressing into a final with George Groves.

And, should he win against Holzken in the semis, Smith could quickly find himself against another substitute in the final on the supposed date of June 2, if Groves fails to heal his shoulder injury in time.

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"Saint George" is fighting to be fit for the summer final after dislocating his shoulder in the last round of his comfortable UD victory against Chris Eubank Jr in the other semi-final on Saturday.

The tournament had run pretty smoothly up until now, without the need of replacements in any of the quarter-finals or semi-finals in both divisions.

What a shame it would be if we couldn't see the biggest names at super-middleweight battle for the Muhammad Ali trophy.

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