By Keith Idec
Organizers of the World Boxing Super Series’ 168-pound tournament confirmed Tuesday that the planned championship match between Brits George Groves and Callum Smith indeed will take place.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, the Groves-Smith match will take place either late in August or early in September. Groves and Smith earned their way to the final, but Groves’ shoulder injury forced two postponements and reportedly made organizers consider replacing Groves in the final.
England’s Chris Eubank Jr., beaten convincingly by Groves in the semifinals February 17, reportedly was considered as an option to step in for Groves in the final.
“As is the nature of injuries, especially the type of injury that George suffered, getting an exact recovery date is nearly impossible,” Kalle Sauerland, Comosa AG’s head of boxing, said in the release. “We have been clear that the tournament has to finish within a certain timeframe, but we also realize that Groves versus Smith is the most ideal final. By pushing the super middleweight final date back as far as we can, we are giving fans the biggest chance of seeing this incredible matchup.”
The 30-year-old Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) suffered a dislocated left shoulder during the 12thround of his win against Eubank (26-2, 20 KOs) in Manchester three months ago. Groves’ injury required surgery, but he assured all along that his shoulder wouldn’t prevent him from facing Smith in the final.
“It is nice to get a provisional date,” Groves said in the release. “We have got something to work towards now. I have been in the gym for a while now, so when we get an exact date we can focus in.”
Liverpool’s Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) beat Denmark’s Nieky Holzken (13-1, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision February 24 in Nuremberg, Germany, to secure his spot in the championship match.
The 28-year-old Smith was supposed to square off against Germany’s Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 25 KOs) in the semifinals. Braehmer withdrew the Monday before their fight due to an illness, but the Netherlands’ Holzken was training to fight another opponent on the undercard and stepped in for Braehmer on only five days’ notice.
Groves and Smith were supposed to fight this Saturday night at O2 Arena in London. Their bout was postponed until July 14 to give Groves more time to recover, but he requested another delay, which reportedly caused Comosa AG to consider replacing him in the final.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.