By Elliot Foster
George Groves has been handed a lifeline to compete in the World Boxing Super Series final against Callum Smith –– despite undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this week.
Organisers of the WBSS, Comosa AG, seemed to have eased their stance on the fighters needing to meet the June 2 date to decide the Ali Trophy, or risk being replaced.
The showpiece, against ‘Mundo’, had been set for the O2 Arena in London, but that date was thrown in to doubt after the ‘The Saint’ dislocated his left shoulder in the final of 12 rounds against Chris Eubank Jr. back on February 17 at Manchester Arena.
Comosa AG, whose chief boxing officer is Kalle Sauerland, have said that they will arrange a second opinion regarding Groves’ shoulder injury –– on which he had surgery on Monday –– before making a decision on the final.
However, the statement they released on Thursday suggested that “the timeframe of George Groves’ injury will be taken into account” when deciding on a new date for the super-middleweight final.
"Comosa AG has advised George Groves that Comosa AG will arrange a second medical opinion – as soon as reasonably possible – to ensure proper evaluation of George’s physical condition,” the statement read.
"A high level of medical scrutiny is In line with Comosa AG’s corporate policy, to respect the athlete’s health at all times, the World Boxing Super Series tournament rules and the principles of fair competition.
"Comosa AG needs to protect the integrity of the athlete’s long-term health. It also has a responsibility to its partners and boxing fans around the globe to ensure a competitive Final for the Muhammad Ali Trophy with two boxers that are fully fit.
"Once Comosa AG has received the full medical advice in regards to George Groves’ fitness it will then make the decision as to the date and location of the Final.
"The decision will be in line with Comosa AG strategic planning and the international event calendar. The timeframe of George Groves’ injury will be taken into account. However, it will only be a part of the decision process.
"Comosa AG wishes George a complete and swift recovery and looks forward to him being able to take his place in the final of the Ali Trophy. The World Boxing Super Series expects another fantastic and unprecedented event which will assign the iconic Ali Trophy.
"Comosa AG will provide an update on the all the details regarding the super-middleweight and cruiserweight finals in due course."
Callum Smith, the WBC Diamond champion at the weight, booked his place in the final against 29-year-old Hammersmith man Groves just last weekend.
Smith, 27, travelled to Germany and outpointed late stand-in Nieky Holzken, a 34-year-old Dutchman with a kickboxing background, at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung in Nuremberg.
And despite an underwhelming performance on the night, Smith said: “I’m now in the final against George Groves, which is a massive fight and one that I’ve wanted since the tournament was mentioned.
“It feels good to finally be getting a world title fight –– I turned professional to become a world champion –– and I’m fighting in a huge fight in England, at home. It’s what dreams are made of and I really like my chances in that fight.
“I think it’s a good fight, George is a good fighter, but I believe that on my day I’m the best super-middleweight in the world, but I’ll have to improve on this performance and I’m looking forward to the final.”