British super-middleweights George Groves and Callum Smith will have to get their passports out pretty soon. According to a breaking news story via Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Groves and Smith will duke it out in the final of the WBSS super-middleweight final in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 28.
The fight, a seeming natural for the UK as both fighters are from there, was indeed set for London, but the big money men have spoken and the fight will now go ahead on foreign soil. September 28 is a Friday, so that too will be a little different for a big fight these days. The grand final of the cruiserweight tournament of the WBSS was initially set for Saudi Arabia but as fans know, Oleksandr Usyk against Murat Gassiev eventually took place in Moscow, Russia.
The WBSS tournaments have, by and large, gone without a hitch, although the 168 pound tourney has taken quite some time to reach its conclusion. Groves, who fought his first bout in the tournament back in October of last year (scoring an impressive body shot KO over Jamie Cox) suffered a serious shoulder injury in his February 2018 win over Chris Eubank Junior; this forcing surgery and a reasonably long layoff.
Now, finally, almost a full year after entering the WBSS, Groves, 28-3(20) and also the reigning and defending WBA champion, will get the opportunity to take home the prestigious Muhammad Ali Trophy. It’s likely Groves and Smith, 24-0(17) – Smith having his first WBSS bout in September of last year; a wide decision win over Erik Skoglund in a damaging fight – would have preferred to have boxed at home, but there we are.
It will prove interesting seeing if the venue will affect either man in any way, that and the long time between their last fights. Also, will Groves’ shoulder injury resurface during what most see as a very competitive, tough to call fight?
An official announcement of this big fight is expected to come later on this week.