Callum Smith easily defeated replacement opponent Nieky Holzken by unanimous decision Saturday to move on to the World Boxing Super Series final where he will face English rival George Groves.
The super middleweight titleholder was sitting ringside as Smith won on scores of 118-110 and 117-111 (twice) at Arena Nürnberger Versicherung in Nuremberg, Germany. FightNights.com scored the bout 118-110 for Smith.
As expected, Smith (24-0, 17 KO's), 27, of the United Kingdom dominated the 34-year-old former kickboxer Holzken (13-1, 10 KO's), of the Netherlands, who took the fight on five days' notice after Juergen Braehmer came down with an illness.
Smith fought well behind a stiff jab, but did not have to pull anything special out of his arsenal to defeat his opponent, and even he admitted that the fight was a little disappointing for him.
"He was tough and game. Did I underestimate him? Maybe a little bit, but it was all about getting through to the final. I was using my jab, and it was about making sure I'm in that final.
"People were saying he's a kickboxer and I should knock him out, so there was a lot of pressure. It does play on your mind.
"It was about sticking to the basics. It was safety first, and I boxed smart. Its job done."
According to Compubox, Smith threw over 1,106 punches, and connected on 307 (28 percent), while Holzken landed 119 of 418 blows (29 percent).
Smith is expected to face Groves in the WBSS 168-pound final, but his potential opponent suffered a shoulder injury in last week's one-sided unanimous decision win over Chris Eubank Jr., and could need more time to recover.
However, Smith is more than willing to wait because Groves has something he desperately wants -- a world title.
"He's the fight I wanted in the final because he's got what all of us in the tournament want [a world title]," said Smith.
Groves will learn more about his injury next week, but is confident that he will knockout or stop Smith.
"We're going to find out the full details on Monday, but I'm tremendously confident I will fight Callum Smith," said Groves. "I don't expect it to go the distance."