Callum Smith vs. Nieky Holzken – Results
By Tim Royner: #2 seed in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) labored to a 12 round unanimous decision victory over prospect Nieky Holzken (13-1, 10 KOs) in their semifinals fight on Saturday night in Nuremberg, Germany.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series)
Smith, 27, mostly jabbed and threw right hands. Smith was badly exposed tonight with his poor performance against a fighter with limited boxing experience in Holzken.
Smith seemed to be pushing his punches without a lot of power on them. Holzken was the faster and frequently more aggressive of the 2 fighters. The judges scored the fight 118-110, 117-111, and 117-111. Boxing News 24 scored the fight for Callum Smith by a 9 rounds to 3 score. Holzken, 34, fought well enough to take rounds 5, 8 and 12. Smith was the busier fighter and that was the difference in the fight.
Holzken, who also competes in kickboxing, absorbed the jabs that the 6’3” Smith was hitting him and was frequently looking to land his left hooks and right hands. Holzken held off on his shots until the later part of each round, and he would then spring on Smith with fast punches to the head. Smith used to be known for his body punching, but he was mostly head-hunting tonight.
Each round was the same with the tall, stork-like Smith standing straight up, jabbing constantly and throwing right hands. The jabs that Smith was throwing proved to be too much for Holzken to take, as he was right in front of him and unable to get out of the way of many of the shots.
Holzken was taking the fight to Smith in the last 3 rounds, but he was getting hit with an occasional big punch. Smith landed a powerful right uppercut to the head of Holzken in the 11th round that got his attention. Holzken took it without showing any signs of being hurt. That punch showed how dangerous Smith is even when he’s fighting a conservative fight.
Smith’s punches lacked power, and he seemed to tire late in the fight with the pressure that was being put on him. Smith was fortunate that he wasn’t fighting Juergen Braehmer. That’s who he was scheduled to fight with until Braehmer suffered an illness and had to pull out of the fight. Braehmer would have been a nightmare for Smith had he been inside the ring with him tonight instead of Holzken.
Smith, 27, will now fighting WBA 168 lb. champion George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) in the World Boxing Super Series finals on June 2 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. Groves, 29, will likely be a big favorite for that fight due to the way Smith looked tonight. Smith is too slow and weak for him to beat Groves right now unless he’s still dealing with his injured shoulder by the time the two fighters meet up on June 2.
For all the boxing fans that were rating Smith highly going into tonight’s fight with Holzken, they’re likely re-thinking their beliefs and seeing that they made a mistake of rating him so highly. Smith doesn’t look ready to face Groves or any of the other top champions in the division. Like I said, the 39-year-old Braehmer probably would have beaten Smith.