The much-anticipated Ali Trophy Super-Middleweight Final between George Groves & Callum Smith is set to go ahead later this summer.
Contrary to some reports on social media that the Hammersmith fighter had been replaced, Comosa AG, the company behind the World Boxing Super Series, will be delaying the British super-fight until late August or early September to allow Groves as much time as possible to take part in the concluding night of the 168lb competition.
The WBA Super Champion (28-3, 20KOs) dislocated his shoulder in the final round of his semi-final win over Chris Eubank Jr in February. There had been the desire from Comosa AG to complete the competition by late July, but after boardroom discussions and consulting the public demand it has been decided to postpone the final further.
“As is the nature of injuries, especially the type of injury that George suffered, getting an exact recovery date is nearly impossible,” said Comosa AG’s Head of Boxing Kalle Sauerland.
“We have been clear that the tournament has to finish within a certain timeframe, but we also realise that Groves vs 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 match-up!”
“It is nice to get a provisional date,” said Groves. “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.”
“We know about Smith, we have seen him for a long time and obviously I boxed his brother. We are supremely confident of getting the win and getting a good win. We already have some good sparring lined up, fighters similar to Smith. I am looking forward to getting back to work and winning the Ali Trophy.”
On his recovery from the injury suffered late on against Eubank Jr, Groves said: “The injury recovery has been fine, it is just like we said it would be. It was a dislocated shoulder that required surgery to stabilise the joint.”
This will be Groves’ third defence of his WBA Super World title, with all three fights involving British opponents – Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jr.
“Yeah, it is funny how these things work out. It means that you always know you will be fighting at home, well at least in the UK! When you both speak the same language, you can delve a little more into their psyche, find out a little more about what makes them tick and maybe get in their head a bit.”
The delayed Final date will also give WBC Diamond belt holder, Smith (24-0, 17KOs), the chance to finally challenge for a World title, having been in mandatory positions over the last few years he has yet to have had his shot.
“It is great to finally to get the fight,” said Smith. “It is the one I have wanted for a long time. I am really happy it is going to be Groves rather than anyone else, it is the fight the fans want too.”
“I’ve been ticking over in the gym and staying prepared, but now I can switch on and aim towards a late summer date. Now that we have the date, even a rough one, I’m excited.”
“The fact that the final of the Ali Trophy is against George and for his title, I am made up. I have been waiting for a world title fight and feel like I have been unlucky at missing out on opportunities, but now I’ve finally got it.”
The revised date and venue for the George Groves vs Callum Smith Ali Trophy Super-Middleweight Final will be announced in the coming weeks.