Callum Smith will face fellow Brit George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series after a routine victory over Nieky Holzken in Germany.
Liverpudlian Smith was due to fight Jurgen Braehmer in the semi-final of the tournament but he was forced to pull out last weekend due to illness.
In front of a packed crowd at the Arena Nurnberger Versicherung in Nuremberg, Smith was far from at his best but did more than enough to beat Dutch fighter Holzken.
The judges scored Saturday’s fight 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111 in Smith’s favour as the 27-year-old kept his unbeaten record in tact.
‘I’m looking forward to it [the final],’ Smith said immediately after his win. ‘George was the one everyone wanted to beat. That’s the fight I wanted.
‘Fingers crossed he can recover and we can get the fight on. He’s the man to beat – he’s the number one seed and it’s the fight I wanted.’
Last weekend, Groves beat Chris Eubank Jr. over 12 rounds in Manchester, despite dislocating his shoulder in the final stages of the bout.
The injury provoked fears that Groves, who famously lost to Carl Froch twice four years ago, would be unable to take part in June’s final.
But he was ringside at Smith’s fight and allayed fears the injury would have a major impact, saying: ‘I dislocated my shoulder – it was painful.
‘We’ve had some scans and we will find out the full details on Monday. I’m extremely confident I’ll be fit to fight in the final against Callum Smith.
‘I’ve had two great wins, this is the fight people want to see. I need to get in the ring and win the trophy.’
On Smith’s performance in Germany and the prospect of facing him in three months, Groves added: ‘To be honest it wasn’t the best Callum Smith I’ve seen.
‘He was a bit flat, he had to prepare for another opponent which isn’t ideal but he got the job done.
‘It’s exciting to see your opponent fight live – I cant wait to get back into the gym. It will be an explosive fight. I don’t expect it to go the distance – I’m confident, of course.’
Smith, meanwhile, admitted he was not at his best during the win over Holzken, saying: ‘He was strong and tough. Did I underestimate him? Probably a bit.
‘The main thing is to get through. Tonight was about getting through and making sure I’m in that final.
‘I knew I was the better boxer, it was just about booking my place in the final – it’s job done.’