George Groves wants WBSS tournament finals delayed until he heals
By Tim Royner: George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) is hoping the World Boxing Supper Series (WBSS) tournament organizers will agree to delay the tournament finals on June 2 until his injured left shoulder is fully healed for him to participate.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series)
Groves earned his spot in the finals last Saturday night with a 12 round decision win over IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs). Groves’ left shoulder was dislocated in the 12th round. It was all Groves could do to make it out of the round the best he could by holding onto Eubank Jr. as he tried to take him out with power shots.
Groves even landed some nice right hands in close when Eubank Jr. was trying to go or the coup de grace. Eubank Jr. took some big shots in the final seconds of that round. As wide open as Eubank Jr. was in the final moments of the contest, he was lucky he didn’t get knocked out. The scores were 115-113, 116-112, and 117-112.
”If the date needs to be changed I’m sure the tournament would decide it is better to delay it to get me into the final because it wouldn’t be the same,” Groves said to BBC Radio 5 Live. ”It is vitally important to me in my boxing career to go on and achieve what is now the dream of winning the World Boxing Super Series,” Groves said.
Promoter Kalle Sauerland has already said the tournament will not be delayed waiting for Groves’ injury to heal.
It’s unfortunate that the 29-year-old Grove had to suffer such a dislocated shoulder in an important tournament. That’s what makes tournaments so difficult. It becomes a situation where injuries get in the way of fighters being able to carry on from one round to the next. It’s like than in the Olympics as well. Sometimes fighters suffer injuries in winning fights, and they’re unable to move to the next level. In Groves’ case, it would be a real disappointment because winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament would win him a lot of fans and help cushion the blow of his previous losses to Carl Froch and Badou Jack.
”I’ve had two big fights to get into the final. I need to go and see the specialist to find out what the recovery time is. That said, 2 June might still work. We haven’t had that information yet,” Groves said.
With a shoulder injury, it could be many months before Groves is able to return to the ring if his shoulder joint was damaged. The World Boxing Super Series tournament organizers are going to need to know fairly soon whether Groves is going to be able to participate in the June 2nd finals, because they’ll need to look for an alternate to replace him. That’ll take time and planning. Sauerland spoke of maybe asking one of the beaten fighters in the WBSS tournament to possibly step in or have a champion take his place. Sauerland will have his work cut out for him if Groves can’t come back.
The tournament will be tainted if Groves is replaced by one of the beaten fighters. If they’re going to pick someone to replace Groves, it’s to be one of the super middleweight champions or a top middleweight like Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders, Ryota Murata or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. 2 of the fighters in the WBSS tournament aren’t from the super middleweight division. Rob Brant came from the middleweight division, and Juergen Braehmer dropped down from light heavyweight. It shouldn’t be a problem for the WBSS to pick out a middleweight to replace Groves if they can’t find a top super middleweight champion to step in to take his spot.
It won’t be the end of the world for Groves if he’s eliminated from the WBSS tournament. The boxing fans will still recognize Groves for his win over Eubank Jr., and they’ll looking forward to his next fight when he does come back from his dislocated shoulder.
”The shoulder feels great after being put back in place. I’m confident that I will be challenging for the Muhammad Ali trophy. This is going to be my trophy – I want it,” Groves said.
Groves needs to look at the big picture when he makes his decision to continue on in the WBSS tournament. Is it worth it for him to possibly risk his career by coming back too quickly from a very serious injury to his left shoulder? It would be wise for Groves to hold off on fighting again until he finds out if his shoulder will stay together. Is there a potential for Groves’ shoulder to become dislocated again? If Groves starts training, he could find out quickly that his left shoulder won’t hold under the stress of combat. It would be a pity if Groves’ career was shortened due to the shoulder injury. At one time Jeff Lacy had an excellent left hook that earned him the nickname ‘Left Hook’ Lacy. But after Lacy suffered a left shoulder injury, his knockouts disappeared and his power in his left shoulder never seemed to be the same. If Groves can no longer throw his left jab like he used to, he’s not going to be the same fighter.
Luckily for Groves, his main weapon in his offensive arsenal of punches is his right hand. Thankfully, Groves didn’t suffer an injury to his right shoulder. All the same though, if Groves’ left shoulder continues to come out of the socket in his future bouts, he’s going to lose fights repeatedly and his career will be as good as over. That’s why it’s important for Groves to rest his shoulder and to slowly come back from this injury after he finds out what’s wrong with it. If Groves needs to rehab his left shoulder over a matter of 6 months or so, then he should do that and forget about the World Boxing Super Series tournament. For the good of the WBSS tourneyman and the the good of Groves, he should probably be replaced by a substitute like David Benavidez. Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez or one of the top middleweights.
”Eubank Jr was so fatigued because he’d been hurt, so he wasn’t able to find the finishing touches – George was fully in control,” Groves’ trainer Shane McGuigan said.