By Scott Gilfoid: Unbeaten Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) will need to do some traveling for his semifinals fight against former 2-time light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer in their fight in the World Boxing Super Series on February 24 at the Arena Burnberger Verischerung, in Nuremberg, Germany.
Smith, 27, is trying to play it down that it’s not a big deal that he must travel to Germany to face the 39-year-old Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs), but it must bother him. Believe me; it bothers Smith a lot. Smith is probably going to have some sleepless nights worrying about fighting Braehmer in Germany without his supporting fans there to cheer him.
Despite his advanced age, Braehmer is the better boxer of the two with superior hand speed, mobility, experience and boxing skills. Braehmer has the better amateur pedigree, and he’s someone that has always stood out from an early age as a true talent.
The winner of the Braehmer vs. Smith fight will face the semifinals winner of the Chris Eubank Jr. vs. George Groves affair. That match-up will be taking place next month on February 17.
“I believe I will beat Jurgen Braehmer anywhere in the world,” said Smith to skysports.com. “I am the better man, the younger, fresher man, and I believe I will do what needs to be done to get to the final.”
Smith, 6’3”, shouldn’t bank too much on his youth and “freshness” as giving him an edge against Braehmer, because the German fighter has been beating younger guys for years. It doesn’t matter if Braehmer’s opponents are younger than him and with less ring mileage. They still wind up losing to him. Braehmer’s last opponent Rob Brant is 27-years-old, and he badly schooled him in beating him by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-112, 119-109 and 118-110 in their quarterfinals fight in the World Boxing Super Series in late last year on October 27 in Germany. We heard the same things how Brant was going to use his youth to defeat the older Braehmer. Ultimately, Brant’s youth wound up hurting him rather than helping him. Being the younger fighter frequently does help, but it hasn’t helped the opposition that has been facing Braehmer. He’s still fighting at too high of a level right now, and has too much talent.
There aren’t too many fighters that possess the kind of talent that Brahemer has. The only things Smith has going for him is youth, size and punching power. That might not be enough for Smith to beat a fighter like Braehmer, especially with him fighting in front of his home boxing fans in Germany. Some people think that Braehmer will have an advantage if the fight is close and it goes to the scorecards. I don’t think it matters that the fight is taking place in Germany. If you’ve ever watched Braehmer’s fights, they generally aren’t close affairs. He out-boxes his opponents and leaves no doubts in the minds of the fans and judges who the better fighter is.
“I am looking forward to the fight,” said Braehmer to skysports.com.“Callum is a good fighter, but I feel confident that I will win this fight. I am in this tournament because I strongly believe I have the ability to win it. Next step towards my goal is a victory in Nuremberg.”
Smith came into the WBSS with many boxing fans giving him a great chance of winning the tournament. However, there are now very few people who think Smith will be the one that wins the tournament. Most fans believe it’ll be either Groves or Eubank Jr. that wins the tournament. There are a number of fans that think Braehmer has an outside chance of winning it. Unfortunately for Smith, he’s no longer being considered as a potential winner by the fans. The major reason for that is how bad Smith looked in beating Erik Skoglund in his semifinals match in the tournament on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Smith had to really labor to defeat the Swedish fighter Skoglund (26-1, 12 KOs) in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision. Smith won by the sores 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111. The scores were wide enough to show that Smith won a clear decision, but they don’t tell the full story. Smith switched off mentally for many of the middle rounds, and he let Skoglund have a considerable amount of success. If not for the Smith’s Liverpool boxing fans encouraging him to fight harder in the last 3 rounds, he might have lost the fight. You can say that the hometown advantage saved Smith’s backside in that fight, because if the match had taken place in Sweden, Skoglund would have had a great chance of winning. The way that Smith fought that fight, I don’t think he’s going to do well against Braehmer in Germany. Smith’s won’t be there to mentally lift his spirits when he’s getting out-boxed by the clever Braehmer, who has a way of causing his opponents to lose ambition with the way he bounds around the ring.
Braehmer has the better hand speed, punch accuracy, Ring IQ, experience and the overall talent. Smith is going to have to try to put it on Braehmer to shoot for a knockout if he wants to win this fight. I don’t think if Smith can stop an intelligent fighter like Braehmer. The only guy that has stopped Braehmer during his career is Nathan Cleverly, and that was a fight that was halted due to Braehmer suffering an elbow injury after round 6 in October 2016. Braehmer was ahead on all 3 of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage. They had Braehmer up by the scores 58-56 x 3. Boxing News 24 also saw Braehmer ahead by the 58-56 score. He was the better fighter of the two, but the injury kept him from being able to go the full 12 round distance. Braehmer never hurt Cleverly in the fight. Braehmer was landing the better shots with more power on them, whereas Cleverly was just focusing on throwing as many punches as possible with his high-volume attack.
Callum Smith is a good fighter, but he’s still very green at this point in his career to be taking on a guy with the kind of talent and ring experience that Braehmer brings to this fight. These are the best fighters that Smith has fought to date:
• Erik Skoglund
• Luke Blackledge
• Christopher Rebrasse
• Hadillah Mohoumadi
• Rocky Fielding
• Nikola Sjekloca
• Vladine Biosse