By Vadim Pushkin
According to Umar Kremlev, manager of Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10KOs), they are close to a deal to fight George Groves (25-3, 18KOs) for the vacant WBA super middleweight title on February 25th in the UK.
The World Boxing Association had ordered Chudinov and Groves to fight reach other for the vacant belt and gave them until January 5th to reach a deal before a purse bid was ordered. Kremlev says they reached an agreement on the terms with Sauerland Event, who handle Groves, without the necessity of a purse bid.
Chudinov (14-1, 10KOs) captured the WBA title in May 2015 when he upset Felix Sturm with a twelve round split decision in Germany. He made his first defense in September 2015 with a decision win over Frank Buglioni in London. For whatever reason, the WBA ordered a rematch between Chudinov and Sturm - and it took place in February. Chudinov lost a disputed twelve round majority decision.
A few weeks after the fight was over, it was revealed that Sturm had tested positive for stanozolol, a banned steroid. A criminal investigation began in Germany and it took months before Sturm's B-sample was tested to confirm the initial test.
Sturm was never actually stripped and the outcome of the Chudinov fight was never changed to a no-contest. The belt became vacant when Sturm himself dropped the title - telling the sanctioning body that he was unable to defend their championship due to nagging injuries. Sturm also left Germany and moved to Bosnia - which many felt was a move to escape criminal prosecution for the drug test failure.
"The fight will be in London. Right now that is what's being negotiated, and the date... February 25. We are finalizing the contracts without the need for a purse bid, which makes no sense right now. We just need to take the title, and then we can dictate terms," Kremlev said to Vasily Konov.
For Groves (25-3, 18KOs), this would be his fourth world title shot. He was knocked out in two attempts to unseat Carl Froch, and then in September 2015 he lost a close twelve round decision to WBC champion Badou Jack.
Groves fought four times in 2016. He stopped Andrea De Luisa in January, drilled unbeaten David Brophy in April, won a dominant twelve round decision over Martin Murray in June, and then came back last November and dominated Eduard Gutknecht over twelve rounds.