Nieky Holzken will fight Callum Smith on Saturday after a late illness ruled ex-world title holder Juergen Braehmer out of his World Boxing Super Series semi-final.
Braehmer was revealed to have a ‘severe infection’ which means his spot in the tournament should pass to one of the scheduled reserves.
Holzken and Dmitrii Chudinov were due to battle each other on the undercard, with the former now officially getting the nod over the Russian.
The Dutchman is currently undefeated in 13 contests with 10 knockouts but has never mixed in anywhere near the class of Smith and is more known as a champion kickboxer.
Chudinov, an ex-interim world title holder, would seemingly have the better credentials but has now missed out.
Smith was already a massive favorite to defeat German Braehmer in his home country this weekend to set up a final battle with George Groves in the summer. Liverpudlian ‘Mundo’ will be even more so with the bookies at this point due to the shock news, which WBN learned of on Monday evening.
Braehmer’s pull-out comes as a double whammy for the WBSS organisers as Groves suffered a shoulder injury in his last four victory over Chris Eubank Jr. and is doubtful to be fit by the planned showpiece on June 2.
Kalle Sauerland is hopeful Groves will make it back to full fitness in time, although semi-final loser Eubank could be drafted in to take his spot in the Ali Trophy box-off.
It was confirmed Groves dislocated his shoulder in the final round at Manchester Arena on Saturday night and could face a four-month recovery. That would mean any fight at the beginning of June would simply be an impossibility, whilst the WBSS are unable to delay the tournament climax beyond the month in question.
The draw for the next round of competitions is set to take place in July.