By Keith Idec
A fight seemingly perfect for England is headed to Saudi Arabia.
According to an ESPN.com report Wednesday morning, the George Groves-Callum Smith super middleweight title fight has been scheduled for September 28 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. An official announcement could come as soon as Wednesday afternoon.
London’s Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), the WBA/IBO super middleweight champ, and Liverpool’s Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) are set to fight in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ super middleweight tournament. They tentatively were scheduled to meet June 2 at O2 Arena in London, but Groves’ shoulder injury forced a postponement.
Apparently, investors in Jeddah offered enough money to the World Boxing Super Series’ organizers to bring this all-Britain battle to Saudi Arabia. Their 12-round, 168-pound title fight will take place on a Friday.
Jeddah was supposed to be the site of the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight final May 11. Once that bout was postponed due to Oleksandr Usyk’s elbow injury, it was moved to Olympic Stadium in Moscow, where Ukraine’s Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) out-boxed Russia’s Murat Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) to win their 12-round cruiserweight title unification fight by unanimous decision Saturday night.
The 30-year-old Groves suffered a dislocated left shoulder during the 12th round of his semifinal victory over England’s Chris Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs) on February 17 in Manchester. He had surgery to repair that injury, but he has healed and is ready to fight Smith.
The 28-year-old Smith advanced to the World Boxing Super Series’ 168-pound final by beating the Netherlands’ Nieky Holzken by unanimous decision February 24 in Nuremberg, Germany.
Smith was supposed to box Germany’s Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs) in the semifinals.
Braehmer withdrew due to an illness the week of that bout, though, and Holzken took that tough fight on just five days’ notice. Holzken (14-1, 11 KOs) was supposed to face another opponent on the Braehmer-Smith undercard.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.