By Terence Dooley
Kenny Anderson has reached out to BoxingScene.com to express his disappointment over the postponement of his British super-middleweight title challenge. The Edinburgh-based boxer was due to meet George Groves at Wembley Arena on Friday night only for Groves to withdraw due to an unspecified injury. Frank Warren, the show’s promoter, confirmed the news this afternoon.
‘Of course, it's bitterly disappointing for us and all the boxers involved, but in sport injuries occur and there is very little anyone can do about it,’ wrote Warren in the press release confirming the rescheduling of the fight. ‘We had already lost Matthew Hall, who was due to box Sam Webb in a championship eliminator, because of an injury and now with George withdrawing from the main event I have had no option but to postpone the whole card until a later date. Once my team have spoken to Wembley about a new date I hope we can get this fight on very soon.’
Earlier today, Rick Reeno revealed that Mikkel Kessler’s proposed WBO super-middleweight title fight with Robert Stieglitz was off as Kessler’s troublesome injured right hand, which was the reason behind the postponement of their original November 5 meeting, had failed to heal sufficiently in time for him to make the rearranged April 14 date. Reeno later reported that Stieglitz’s promoters, SES Boxing, had won the purse bids for Stieglitz’s mandatory defence against Groves.
Conspiracy theorists immediately started to ask if Groves-Anderson had been sacrificed in order to ensure that Groves gets to Stieglitz in May, Warren’s pledge that the bout will be rescheduled has failed to allay these fears. Anderson reacted with characteristic honesty when asked for his take on the day’s events.
“It is brutal because of all the effort we’ve put in,” said Anderson during a phone call to BoxingScene.com earlier this evening. “A lot of people sacrificed a lot of things. It is me that gets in there and fights, but everyone in my life makes sacrifices – I am gutted.”
“No, I heard that his arse fell out, eh?” growled the 29-year-old when asked if he has been told anything specific about Groves’ injury. “That is his official injury. Or maybe it is his little toe. He may have hurt his toe like David Haye did [against Wlad Klitschko]. I think it is very cowardly how they’ve done this. I think they’re going to have to look in the mirror and know that they’ve dodged me for no over reason than they don’t want to take the risk.
“I don’t believe in my heart that he’s injured. That is the feeling I’ve got. I don’t think they wanted to have this fight, it is too risky and they want this other fight [Stieglitz] because it is a bigger fish. If so then that is absolutely shocking, it is a terrible thing to do given the build-up and how much respect we’ve shown. If it happens then it is disgusting.”
Given Warren’s insistence that the fight will be moved to a later date, had Anderson called the veteran promoter to ask if he will definitely be Groves’ next opponent? “I can’t say something like that to Frank Warren,” he answered, “because it would mean fu** all.”
He added: “The promoters do what they like and don’t take anyone else’s views into consideration. Asking Frank something like that would be water off a duck’s back – I didn’t even get the courtesy of a phone call [his trainer] Kevin Maree told me about it. I’m at the back of a line when it comes to being notified about things like that, they don’t give a fu** about you. George and Adam don’t want it, it won’t happen, they’ll get Stieglitz and the only time I’ll get to fight Groves now is when I take the world title from him.
“It is pretty poor form. It seems to be that Kevin gets the job of doing the dirty work and hard stuff. All the sh*t falls on his shoulders, but he is a big enough man to take it. The people who are there for you when the sh*t hits the fan are the ones you stand with. The person who is always there for me is Kevin; it is just me and him.
“This won’t dampen my resolve – I’ll keep working hard. I knew this would happen all along. I knew I would smash the wee man to bits and I think the thought of that was too much for him. George has heard about how I’m doing, the condition I’m in, and he’s bottled it, and he was right to because I’d have destroyed him. The top and bottom of it is, Groves and Booth were forced to take this fight by the BBBoC, it wasn’t one they chose. Know they’ll come out with childish excuses for ducking it. I always knew their level, they’re showing it now by the way they’re acting.”
Given Anderson’s anger, his next opponent may need to take a riot shield into the ring. Indeed, Matchroom have confirmed to Boxingscene that Anderson could take up a spot on Carl Froch’s fight with IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute, which is pencilled in for May 26 in Nottingham. Anderson, 15-1 (11), believes that he will put in an especially devastating performance in his next one.
“I take all my opponents seriously, but yeah, my next opponent is going to feel the brunt of this,” he said. “I’m not overlooking anyone or anything, I’ll be focussed as I normally am and go out there with the malintent I always have.”
Speaking of Maree, Anderson’s trainer refused to condemn Groves, but quietly insisted that should the British champion not face Anderson next the Londoner’s reputation will be damaged. “I heard the news from Steve Wood [Anderson’s manager] late this afternoon when things were filtering through already,” said Maree.
“One of two things are going to happen. If George is genuinely injured, and I believe he is as he is a professional, then the fight will be rescheduled and we’ll get it again or he’ll bump us and go for the world title. If he does then it is on his shoulders, he has to square that with the people who booked flights to London, who paid in advance for hotels and tickets, and the fans who wanted to see it.
“If he does go on and fights Stieglitz then it won’t be nice and the public will judge him. George has been speaking about this being a foregone conclusion, that he’ll drop Kenny in the second, so if all that were true then he would have taken this fight despite the world title possibly coming up. He must be injured. We wish him a speedy recovery. If he isn’t then he’ll face up to that after and it won’t be a nice place to be.
“We look forward to seeing George in the ring for his next fight. This won’t stop what us doing what we’re doing. We’re moving on for the British title and our end goal is a long, fulfilling career for Kenny. We won’t get out this Friday night, but we’ll do our job, keep our heads down and we know things will happen.”
He added: “I also feel for [Anderson’s training stablemate] Jeff Thomas, he took a [British light-middleweight eliminator] fight with Sam Webb at short notice and has trained hard. I also feel for the other lads who were due to be on the bill, they’ve all trained hard, money is tight at the moment so they’ll miss a payday and we just want to spare a thought for all the lads even if they weren’t going for a title on the bill.”
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