George Groves vs. Callum Smith likely for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
By Trevor McIntyre: The World Boxing Super Series super middleweight finals between WBA 168lb champion George Groves and Callum Smith in September is heading towards Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is the potential venue for the fight, according to The Mirror. This is the same venue that cruiserweight champions Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk were supposed to fight.
Usyk was injured during training camp and that required the fight to be moved. Having the Groves vs. Smith finals in Jeddah is going to anger a lot of boxing fans in the UK. It would be better for the organizers of the WBSS to think it through before they make the final decision to where the fight is going to be staged.
Staging the Groves-Smith fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia won’t be a popular move, because it’s going to make it very difficult to for the UK boxing fans to get to the location. This is kind of a surprise because it was thought that Jeddah had been forgotten by the WBSS tournament organizers after the Usyk vs. Gassiev fight was moved from that location to Moscow, Russia for their finals fight.
The big question is whether there’s more money for Groves and Smith to fight in Jeddah than there would be for them to fight in the UK. If there’s not additional money for the two of them, then they should keep the bout in the UK where the fight can attract a lot of boxing fans. Putting it in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia could result in a small crowd showing up to see the two fighters.
Groves is coming off shoulder surgery on a dislocated left shoulder for his fight last February against Chris Eubank Jr. It’s still unclear whether Groves will be able to make it through training camp for the Smith fight. Coming back from a dislocated shoulder is tricky business. It might not work out for Groves. If Groves needs to pull out of the fight, Eubank Jr. will step in to replace him, as he’s been made the reserve for the fight by the World Boxing Super Series organizers. Eubank Jr. would need to pull out of a potential fight between him and James DeGale if he winds up as the substitute.
James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr. in talks
James ‘Chunky’ DeGale is reportedly in discussions for a fight against Chris Eubank Jr. in a fight with the winner potentially facing the winner of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament between George Groves and Callum Smith.
A victory for DeGale over Eubank Jr. would make a fight between him and the Groves. vs. Smith winner a very big one. The fight becomes much bigger if DeGale can take Eubank Jr’s scalp and then go on to face Smith or Groves in a stadium fight.
DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) vacated his IBF 168 lb. title last week after the International Boxing Federation ordered him to defend it against his mandatory challenger Jose Uzcategui. DeGale clearly didn’t want that work, so he gave up the IBF belt to avoid what would have been a very difficult fight.
DeGale vs. Eubank Jr. will be a nice money fight for both of the fighters. The two have traded words recently with Eubank Jr., saying that he wants to go after the rest of his teeth that weren’t knocked out by Badou Jack last year in January 2017. DeGale’s fight with Jack ended in a 12 round draw. However, during the course of the fight, Jack sent some of DeGale’s front teeth flying. Afterwards, DeGale looked badly beaten with both eyes swollen, teeth missing and his nose twisted to one side. It was a bad
beating that Jack had inflicted on DeGale, which might help explain why he’s not been the same fighter in his last two fights since then against Caleb Truax. DeGale lost the first fight last December by a 12 round majority decision, but in their rematch last April, he was given a very generous 12 round unanimous decision. Boxing News 24 had Truax winning the fight by a close decision.
This is a risky fight for DeGale to take on the 28-year-old Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs) rather than waiting to face the winner of the Groves-Smith fight for a bigger payday. That’s probably the safest way for DeGale to go because he would get the huge payday against the Groves vs. Smith winner. Of course, DeGale will likely be trounced by either of them, but at least he’d get a nice golden parachute to help feather his retirement years. It’s risky for DeGale to fight Eubank Jr. There’s the real potential for DeGale’s career to be finished off by Eubank Jr. if he takes an especially bad loss. I doubt that the Groves-Smith winner will want anything to do with DeGale if he loses badly to Eubank Jr.
Eubank Jr. lost his last fight to Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) on February 17 in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. Eubank Jr. looked like an unskilled novice against Groves. It wasn’t even competitive until after Groves suffered a dislocated left shoulder in round 12.
“My team have been working very hard and we’ve got some very big, exciting news to announce soon,” DeGale said. “No world champion easily gives up his title. I’ve proudly held the IBF title in two reigns with pride and distinction, which is why it makes it a very hard decision to relinquish the belt.”
It was thought initially that DeGale, 32, would defend his IBF title against No.1 Jose Uzcategui, but he instead chose to give up the title instead of taking on the tough opponent.
There’s been talk recently that DeGale would face Billy Joe Saunders, who suffered an injury recently that caused him to pull out of his title defense against Martin Murray that was scheduled for June 23. Saunders is now looking at having Demetrius Andrade as his next WBO mandatory. That would be a bad match-up for DeGale to face Saunders because he’s a quick fighter with a lot of defensive skills. DeGale does better against fighters that are looking to slug it out.