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Smith and Holzken both looking towards winning the Ali Trophy

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WBC Diamond Champion Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs ) and Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs) exchanged words of confidence and went head to head at the press conference before their Ali Trophy Semi-Final on Saturday in Nuremberg.

“I came here to book a place in the final,” said 27-year-old Smith. “I have had a really good camp, and I have improved on stuff from the last fight and people will see a better performance from me. People will see that I am good enough to win the tournament.”

“I just want to win, win well and look good doing it.”

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Asked if it is motivating for him to have George Groves watching Saturday’s fight from ringside, Smith responded.

“Yeah, it’s motivating. I always knew from the start of the tournament that there was a massive opportunity that George would be waiting in the final. But for now I am fully focused on Nieky, and then I can talk more about Groves after the fight.”

Substitute fighter Nieky Holzken, the undefeated Dutch super middleweight, and former world kickboxing champion joined the quest for the Ali Trophy at the semi-final stage following the withdrawal of veteran German fighter Juergen Braehmer with illness.

The 34-year-old has been bold in the build-up stating he is entering the tournament ‘to take over’, and he continued on the positive path at the press conference.

“It is great to be here,” said Holzken. “My life has been like a rollercoaster the last days. I was preparing to fight Dmitrii Chudinov, and on Monday I got the call that Juergen Braehmer was out. So this is a lifetime opportunity, and I will take the opportunity with both hands. I’m ready!”

“Callum is a good fighter and respectful guy. But I am a big believer and I believe I can get the victory on Saturday. I am going to do my best to beat him and my best to win the whole tournament.”

Tickets for the Ali Trophy semi-final Smith-Holzken at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung are available at eventim.de.

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