Steven Nelson vs. Cem Kilic Set For Hart vs.
Smith Jr. Jan. 11 Co-Feature Live On ESPN
Steven “So Cold” Nelson and Cem “Champ” Kilic were set to
tangle Saturday evening in a battle of unbeaten super
middleweights on Terence Crawford’s undercard, but an
unexpected injury changed their plans.
Nelson and Kilic will now fight in a 10-rounder for the
vacant NABO title Saturday, Jan. 11 as the co-feature to the
Jesse Hart-Joe Smith Jr. main event at Hard Rock Live at
Etess Arena (ESPN & streaming on the ESPN App (Spanish), 10
p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). The co-feature slot became available
after Rob “Bravo” Brant, who was set to fight Habib “Wild
Hurricane” Ahmed, suffered a torn biceps.
“This is one of those moments. When this opportunity
presented itself, I knew I had to take it,” Nelson said. “I
compare this to when Terence Crawford got the late call to
fight Breidis Prescott on HBO. He took advantage of that
opportunity, and I am going to take advantage of the ESPN
“While I’m disappointed not to fight on the Dec. 14 card, I
am beyond excited to showcase my talent to an even bigger
audience just four weeks later on ESPN,” Kilic said. “I have
been working hard in Florida with Buddy McGirt so all sports
fans can see the best Cem Kilic on fight night!”
Nelson (15-0, 12 KOs), from Omaha, Neb., is part of one of
boxing’s great stables, the Brian “BoMac” McIntyre-trained
crew that also includes Crawford and junior lightweight
world champion Jamel Herring. A 2012 U.S. Olympic team
alternate and a U.S. Army veteran, Nelson took up the sport
in 2010. He won the first 14 bouts of his career as a light
heavyweight before moving down to super middleweight. In his
super middleweight debut, Sept. 1 in Omaha, Nelson blew away
Derrick Findley in four rounds. Kilic (14-0, 9 KOs) is a Los
Angeles-based native of Germany who has won four of his last
five by stoppage, most recently stopping Martez McGregor
June 15 on the Tyson Fury-Tom Schwarz undercard.
The winner of this battle of world-ranked 168-pounders will
position himself for a shot at one of the world titles.
Nelson and Kilic have to wait four more weeks for the fight
of their lives.