By Rick Reeno
As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35KOs) has withdrawn from Saturday's semi-final bout with Callum Smith (23-0, 17KOs). Braehmer has been battling a bad illness for several days.
The event, which is scheduled to takes place at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung in Germany, will still go forward as planned.
Based on what BoxingScene was advised earlier - Comosa, which is the parent company behind the World Boxing Super Series, is likely going to announce Smith's new opponent later today.
According to multiple sources, 34-year-old Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs) of the Netherlands is the frontrunner to replace Braehmer.
Holzken was already scheduled to fight on the undercard against Dmitry Chundinov.
"The Natural" Holzken is very well respected kickboxer who converted over to boxing. The he was the Glory welterweight champion, a two-time European Muay Thai champion and the K-1 MAX Scandinavia 2006 tournament champion.
Nearly all of Holzken's boxing matches have taken place in the Netherlands. He's never faced anyone on the level of Smith, but makes a better late-replacement than Chudinov, who is coming off a decision loss to 45-year-old Lolenga Mock.
To reach the semi-finals, Smith claimed a 116-112, 117-110, 117-111 decision victory on the judges' cards against Sweden’s Erik Skoglund at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Germany’s Braehmer, 39 years old and moving down from light heavyweight, dominated the much younger Rob Brant in Kongresshalle in Schwerin with the judges scoring it 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112 in favor of the former light heavyweight world titleholder.
Last Saturday night, WBA super middleweight champion George Groves secured his place in the finals with a dominant twelve round unanimous decision win over domestic rival Chris Eubank Jr. at the Manchester Arena.
But, the other hiccup in the tournament is pertaining to Groves suffering a bad shoulder injury in the final round of the fight. There is still no clear indication on Groves' ability to fight in the final bout, which at the moment is scheduled to take place in early June.