Callum Smith displayed a formidable jab to easily defeat last-minute replacement Nieky Holzken and advance to face George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series finals.
Holzken, in his 14th fight on less than a week’s notice following an injury pullout from Jurgen Braehmer, displayed good power in his hooks when he sporadically positioned Smith on the ropes. But the more experienced Smith took full advantage of Holzken’s lack of counter-punching and jabbing to get off first and glide out of danger. When Holzken lingered too long in range, Smith would fire eye-catching lead right uppercuts.
THAT uppercut and roll from Smith on Holzken…🔥🔥🔥#SmithHolzken 🏆 #AliTrophy pic.twitter.com/wYfI2c07ZE
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) February 24, 2018
But the fight’s most telling weapon would be Smith’s jab. He broke the super middleweight record for jab’s thrown with 852, and moved into second place all-time for jabs landed at 241 behind Hall of Famer Mike McCallum.
Final scorecards were unanimous for Smith — 118-110 and 117-111 twice. George Groves, one week removed from his impressive win over Chris Eubank, was ringside to observe and engage in a staredown. The exact date of the finals remains unclear as Groves is recovering from a left shoulder injury.
Groves, who is more fluid in his offense and in possession of the longer, faster and more powerful jab, remains the favorite to win the tournament as the #1 seed.