George Groves vs. Callum Smith to take place in September
By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Kalle Sauerland of World Boxing Super Series tournament says WBA Super World super middleweight champion George Groves will be defending his title in September in the WBSS tournament against Callum Smith, in speaking to IFL TV. However, Sauerland says the fight likely won’t be taking place in the UK, which obviously will be a buzz-kill for Groves and Smith’s loyal boxing fans.
Not having the Groves-Smith fight in the UK is going to have British boxing fans upset, because they were looking forward to seeing them. It’s unclear where Sauerland wants to stage the fight. It would be weird if he placed it in an out of the way location whether neither fighter’s loyal fans will be able to make the journey easily to come see them. The only location where Groves vs. Smith is going to bring in huge numbers of fans is in the UK.
You can’t stage it anywhere else and expect a large walk-up crowd to come see them. It makes financial sense to stage it in the UK at the O2 Arena. It would be interesting if the Groves-Smith fight winds up in the U.S where neither of them is well known. It would be like a ghost town inside the arena on the night with crickets heard cheeping. The only thing I can think of for a decision not to stage it in the UK is if Smith or Groves objects to the location the WBSS had planned. As such, in order to make both happy, they would stage the fight outside of the UK in someplace like Russia or Saudi Arabia.
If Groves or Smith is unable to compete due to injuries in September, the recently beaten Chris Eubank Jr. will step in as a replacement. Both guys are coming off of injuries. Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the 12th round in his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision win over Eubank Jr. in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament on February 17 in Manchester, England. Groves, 30, was able to somehow make it through the 12th with his left shoulder dislocated. The judges gave Groves the win by the scores 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113. Those ridiculous scores were completely out of place for the fight that took place on the night. If anything, Eubank Jr. won just one round, the 12th, and was blanked in the first 11 rounds. There’s something about having Eubank Jr. on standby as a reserve that is somehow off-putting to me, because he’s coming off of such a one-sided defeat to Groves. It would be much better if the WBSS picked out one of the top contenders or champions at 168 to step in and fill in for Groves or Smith in the finals. WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez or IBF champion Jose Uzcategui would be perfect examples.
Groves’ shoulder has got to be a major question mark for this fight, as it’s been only been five months since the injury, and we don’t know how he’s going to do coming off the injury.