By John Angus MacDonald
BoxingScene can confirm that George Groves, 20-2 (15), will face Denis Douglin, 17-3 (10), on the undercard of the grudge-match between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew on November 22 at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.
Groves, 26, will be making his fourth appearance in 12 months following on from his two encounters with IBF and WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch and his successful European title tilt against Christopher Rebrasse in September. The victory over Rebrasse secured “The Saint” mandatory challenger status for the WBC title currently held by Anthony Dirrell, 27-0-1 (22).
Douglin, a 26-year-old New Jersey resident, will be looking pull off an upset win, as he did in July 2012 when he claimed a split decision victory over the then undefeated Steve Martinez. However, the southpaw was unable to generate any momentum following on from that career best victory as he suffered a fifth round stoppage defeat to Jermell Charlo in his next fight.
Groves will join fellow super middleweight contenders James DeGale, 19-1 (13), and Callum Smith, 14-0 (11), on the bill. With DeGale and Groves already in mandatory positions, for Froch and Dirrell respectively, and Smith in a WBC eliminator that evening, the trio could be on a collision course over the next 18 months.
‘’I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,’’ said Groves. ‘’This is a chance for me to impress on a big card. I plan to steal the show! It’s a calculated risk, lose this fight and I lose my shot at Dirrell. But I want to stay active, I want to box as regularly as possible and I’m confident I can get the job done.
‘’I’ve good memories of fighting at the Echo Arena. It’s been a happy hunting ground for me in the past. I fought my third professional fight there against Paul Samuels and I picked up a lot of fans in Liverpool that night. They’re a lively bunch and I hope to bump into a few of them when I’m back in November.’’
‘’This is a big opportunity for me,’’ said Douglin. ‘’Win this fight and I’m a step closer to realising my dream of becoming world champion. Groves is a great boxer, it will be a tough fight but I’m ready to cause an upset. I’m coming to fight my fight and to beat Groves on his home turf.’’
‘’We’re pleased to get George out on another big UK show,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’He will face a tough test against Douglin and cannot afford to look past him. George will need to approach this as if it were a world title fight or could risk losing the WBC mandatory position.’’
"I’m delighted to add George to a huge night of British boxing on November 22 in Liverpool,’’ said Eddie Hearn. ‘’You have three great super-middleweights in action in George, James DeGale and Callum Smith who are all in big fights - there will be plenty of drama on fight night and in the build up. We have had a run of great nights recently working together with Team Sauerland and we look forward to many more in the future.’’