By Elliot Foster
George Groves has relinquished the IBO title –– just days after picking up the belt.
The Hammersmith fighter, who added the lightly-regarded trinket to his WBA Super world title at super-middleweight with a win over Chris Eubank Jr. last weekend, is understood to have refused to pay the sanctioning fee to the International Boxing Organisation in order to keep the belt.
Groves won the title at Manchester Arena on February 17, exclusively live on ITV Box Office, when he outpointed the second generation Eubank in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final –– with scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 –– and booked his place in the Ali Trophy showpiece on June 2 at the O2 Arena in London.
But the availability of Groves for the final, who dislocated his shoulder in the final stanza of 12 against Eubank Jr. recently, is being sweated on by the WBSS officials who will be ringside at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung in Nuremberg, Germany on Saturday to find out the identity of Groves opponent as Callum Smith faces late replacement opponent Nieky Holzken in a defence of the WBC Diamond super-middleweight title.
A win for Smith against Holzken will see him face ‘The Saint’ six-and-a-half years on from Groves’ stoppage victory over the eldest Smith brother Paul when they clashed for the British and Commonwealth titles at super-middleweight at Wembley Arena.
Should ‘Mundo’, who predicted Groves would beat Eubank Jr on points, get the chance to be in the opposite corner to the 29-year-old, he could be forced to wait a little longer for the opportunity.
Groves will have his injury assessed over the coming days –– but he has vowed to make the showpiece in the early summer.
“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,” said Groves.
“I’ve worked so hard. 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, June 2 might still work.
“We haven’t had that information yet. 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.”
Details surrounding the WBSS final date and its potential to be moved, which chief boxing officer Kalle Sauerland has said can only be by a matter of weeks, will be revealed in due course.