By Scott Gilfoid: #2 WBC, #10 IBF George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) will be facing #9 WBC Martin Murray (32-3-1, 15 KOs) in a WBA super middleweight title eliminator on June 25 in the co-feature bout on the undercard of the title fight between IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale on Sky Box Office PPV at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
The winner of the Groves-Murray fight will be the mandatory challenger to WBA 168lb champion Giovanni De Carolis. It’s interesting that Murray and Groves are able to skip over #2 WBA challenger Fedor Chudinov to fight in the WBA eliminator, especially given the reported positive drug test for the current WBA Super World super middleweight champion Felix Sturm in his fight against Chudinov last February.
It seems to me that Chudinov should be the one fighting in an eliminator bout. I thought he did more than enough to deserve the win in his fight against Sturm in their fight for the WBA title.
Groves and Murray are not ranked in the top 15 by the World Boxing Association’s rankings, as far as I can tell. Why they’re both getting a chance to fight in the WBA eliminator rather than the higher ranked #2 WBA Chudinov and #3 WBA Patrick Nielsen is the big question. I’m just saying.
“Martin is the perfect fight for me at this stage,” said Groves to skysports.com. “He’s a seasoned campaigner, who’s boxed at the highest level for quite some time. He is a world level opponent and I’ll have to be fully focused and prepared to beat him. A win against Murray on the biggest stage will open a lot of doors and bring me a step closer to achieving my goal of becoming world champion. I’m fully expecting it to be a war; I can’t wait.”
Di Carolis is arguably the weak link among the five world champions right now at super middleweight. If Groves or Murray are ever going to win a world title, I guess this is their best chance. I don’t give them any chances of beating the other current world champions in the division in Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Badou Jack, and James DeGale. It’s hard not to notice that Groves and Murray are being positioned to go after Di Carolis rather than one of the tougher champions. Is that by accident or is it a strategic move on their promoter’s part.
Groves was whipped by Badou Jack last year in September in a failed attempt by Groves to win a world title. I can’t see Groves ever beating Badou no matter how many times they fight each other because Groves lacks the stamina to get the job done. To beat Badou, you need to be more than just a six-round fighter, which is what I see Groves as. He’s a good fighter for six rounds, but after that point, he falls apart. We’ve seen that from Groves in his two knockout losses to Carl Froch and in his 12 round decision loss to Badou. Groves looked good in all three of those fights for the first six rounds, but after the 6th, he looked heck a tired.
Groves, 28, is coming off of a 4th round knockout win over domestic level fighter David Brophy earlier this month at the Copper Box Arena in London, UK. The win meant nothing due to Groves being put in with a 2nd tier fighter rather than a contender. Before that, Groves defeated journeyman Andrea Di Luisa by a 5th round knockout at the Copper Box. Groves had a couple of wins in 2014 against Denis Douglin and Christopher Rebrasse. He looked mediocre in both fights.
Murray, 32, was beaten by former WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham last November by a 12 round split decision. Murray fought well at times, but then gassed out in the last four rounds of the fight and wound up losing. Murray had been talking about potentially retiring if he lost. I guess he’s happy he didn’t because now he’s in the position where he can get yet another world title shot if he beats Groves on June 25 in their WBA super middleweight title eliminator.
Murray was also beaten by WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin earlier last year in February 2015. Murray was stopped in the 11th round of a one-sided fight. Murray fought twice for world titles in 2015 and was beaten both times. Murray was beaten by former WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez by a 12 round unanimous decision in April 2013.
Murray forgot to throw enough punches to give himself a chance of winning. In 2011, Murray fought to a 12 round draw against former WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm. I thought Murray deserved to lose that fight, especially with the way he was rocked in the 12th round.