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The World Boxing Super Series (Part II- Super Middleweight Bracket)
Pictured: Callum Smith

Coming up this weekend is the start of the Super Middleweight bracket of the World Boxing Super Series. We've taken a look at the Cruiserweight bracket of this much acclaimed tournament, so now let's take a look at the Super Middleweight bracket.

Match 1: Callum Smith vs Erik Skoglund (September 16)

Smith has already developed quite a reputation as one of the top young contenders at Super Middleweight. Most believe he has the potential to be the best of the fighting Smith brothers (Paul, Stephen, Liam and Callum), and spectacular wins like a 1st round TKO destruction of Rocky Fielding lend credence to that belief. Erik Skoglund has never previously competed as a Super Middleweight. Up until this point in his career, he's competed as a Cruiserweight and Light Heavyweight. He fought as a Cruiserweight in his first 2 bouts and has competed as a Light Heavyweight ever since then. Skoglund is unbeaten at 26-0, and has picked up a few steppingstone titles along the way. The most recognizable name on his record is Glen Johnson, who was well past his best, but has beaten an array of decent opponents including Luke Blackledge and Lolenga Mock (both of whom have also lost to Smith), former contender Oleksandr Cherviak, Derek Edwards (who once upset Badou Jack), and former WBC Silver champion Ryno Liebenberg. I haven't had the chance to see Skoglund fight before but generally fighters moving down in weight have a tendency to lose something in the transition. Considering he'll be facing the man who is perceived to the toughest challenge of his career while also taking on the challenge of competing in a new weight class for the first time, there's reason to believe this isn't going to work out well for Skoglund. I'm not sure whether or not Skoglund can take a punch well or not, but I expect Smith to get the better of this fight. My gut tells me that Smith will beat him by decision.

Match 2: Chris Eubank Jr. vs Avni Yildirim (October 7)

The Turkish fighter Yildirim is a talented slugger who has compiled a 16-0 record over the 3 years he's been a professional. He first broke into the world rankings as a light heavyweight with wins over the past-his-prime Glen Johnson, Finland's Janne Forsman, and Argentina's Walter Gabriel Sequeira. He's fought his last six bouts as a Super Middleweight and has defeated, among others, Aaron Pryor, Jr., Schiller Hyppolite, and Marco Antonio Periban. Eubank Jr. established himself as a middleweight contender by defeating Dmitrii Chudinov in 2015 and this year, moved up to the Super Middleweight class. In February, he won the IBO title by stopping Renold Quinlan and in July, outpointed former multi-time World Champion Arthur Abraham to retain the IBO belt and earn his spot in this Tournament. I believe he'll have what it takes to outbox Yildirim but this is one of the more interesting matchups of the Super Middleweight bracket.

Match 3: George Groves vs Jamie Cox (October 14)

Groves was a contender at Super Middleweight for several years and finally was able to win a World Title in his last bout when he stopped Fedor Chudinov. He defeated respectable contenders in David Brophy and Martin Murray in recent years as well. Jamie Cox has a nice record on paper of 24-0 with 13 KO's but closer inspection shows that none of his 24 wins have come against true world class opponent. In his last bout, he tuned up for the Tournament with a win over sub-.500 journeyman George Kandelaki. Facing Groves at this point is going to be like stepping from a small pond into the middle of the ocean. I expect "Saint George" to beat him handily.

Match 4: Rob Brant vs Jurgen Braehmer (October 28)

This, to me, is the most interesting bout of the Quarter Final round of the Super Middleweight bracket. Brant has competed mostly as a Middleweight in his career prior to now, but does have a few prior fights as a Super Middleweight also. Braehmer has competed as a Light Heavyweight since 2008, but had previously competed as a Super Middleweight before that. He had a lengthy reign as WBA Light Heavyweight Champion but most of his title defenses came against lesser contenders and he lost his title to Nathan Cleverly in October 2016. Cleverly has since been defeated by Badou Jack, and announced his retirement from the sport. It's unknown whether or not Braehmer will be able to handle moving back to down to 168 after all these years and still fight effectively. I figure it will hinder him significantly, even more than it will hinder Eric Skoglund who is doing the same thing. Aside from that, Braehmer is also 38 while Brant is 26 years old and in his physical prime. Everything seems to favor Brant in this matchup on paper, but Braehmer will be the most accomplished fighter that Brant has faced up to this point. I favor Brant by TKO in this one.
Article By: Bobby Davis