Callum Smith eased into the final of the World Boxing Super Series but wasn’t given everything his own way by Nieky Holzken.
Despite being an overwhelming favorite pre-fight, the Briton struggled to handle Holzken at times despite racking up the rounds against a predominant kickboxer.
A late replacement, Holzken was expected to be taken out with ease by Smith, who booked a showpiece in London on June 2nd against George Groves.
Scores of 118-110 and 117-111 (twice) were a true reflection of the contest, although Smith could begin as an underdog to lift the Muhammad Ali Trophy versus Groves if the odds are based on their respective performances in the last four.
On the undercard, heavyweight prospect Filip Hrgovic continued his rise with an impressive and one-sided triumph over Ireland’s Sean ‘Big Sexy’ Turner.
Hrgovic had way too much in his locker for Turner and won every round on his way to a fourth professional win.
Judges carded 80-72 on two cards and 79-73 on a third as Hrgovic displayed some of the skills which have seen such buzz created around him.
The Croatian was already ranked in the World Boxing Council Top 40 before the fight and will hope to be in contention to a fringe title in the near future.
Fresh from missing out on facing the now headliner Nieky Holzken, super middleweight Dmitrii Chudinov dropped Sergey Khomitsky before out-pointing the former interim world title challenger.
Chudinov, 31, bounced back to winning ways following defeat to Lolenga Mock last month with scores of 78-73 across the board from the officials.
Earlier, super-middleweight Leon Bauer remains undefeated following a six round victory over Marco Miano, whilst middleweight Wanik Awdijan came through Florian Wildenhof via a majority decision after eight rounds.