Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) is looking forward to taking his career to the next level by facing – and beating – WBA Super World super middleweight champion George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) in their fight this September in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament finals. The fight will be taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Smith, 24, notes that it’s not the idea location to fight the 30-year-old Groves, but he has no choice in the matter. The WBSS tournament organizers have picked Saudi Arabia for some reason rather than staging it in the more logical location of the UK.
Groves has a shoulder injury that he’s still rehabbing. If the shoulder doesn’t allow Groves to throw his powerful jab with the same kind of authority, then this fight could be a winnable one for Smith. A healthy Groves will be a very difficult opponent for the 6’3” Smith and he might not ready for that type of opponent at this early stage in his career.
Smith had problems in his last bout against Nieky Holzken in the semifinals of the WBSS last February in Germany. Smith won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but this was far from a great performance by Smith. Holzken came out of the fight with more people talking about him than the lanky 6’3” Smith. Groves has to like his chances of winning this fight after seeing how bad Smith struggled against Holzken.
“But I want to be the no 1, and I think beating George Groves does that, or if not, puts me up there. Then I can go on and try and beat the other champions and cement that position,” Smith said to skysports.com. “No 1 in the world is the ultimate goal for me. A win over George Groves puts me there or thereabouts.”
The of the Smith vs. Groves fight won’t be considered the No.1 fighter in the 168 lb. weight class. For a true winner to be decided, the winner of the Groves-Smith fight would need to beat these fighters:
– Jose Uzcategui
– James DeGale
– David Benavidez
– Tyron Zeuge
– Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
– Jesse Hart
Smith might view himself as the best fighter in the super middleweight division if he beats Groves, but the boxing world wouldn’t. Smith would still have a lot of hard work in store for him trying to weed out those fighters before he could rightfully be called the best in the 168 lb. division.
A victory for Smith over Groves will make him one of the top fighters in the super middleweight division, but it won’t make him the No.1 fighter in the division. The reason why is because Groves is coming off a bad shoulder injury.
Having the Groves-Smith fight in Jeddah, Arabia is negative for both of them, because many of their
boxing fans are going to be left home in the UK, unable to watch them. While some of them will have the desire and the means to travel to Jeddah to see them fight live, a lot of fans won’t. That means that there’s likely going to be a lot of empty seats on the night in the arena when the two face each other. This is the same location that cruiserweights Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk were supposed to face each other for their finals match. Luckily for them, the location of their fight in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight finals has been changed to Moscow, Russia. The tournament organizers decided not to place the Groves vs. Smith fight in the UK, and it has a lot of fans more than a little upset about it.
“It’s their decision. I’ve got to just abide by it and just do my part in the ring, which is the most important thing,” Smith said to skysports.com about the WBSS organizers deciding to stage the fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia instead of the UK.
The good news about Smith-Groves taking place in Arabia is that neither of them are going to have an advantage over one another. If they had fought each other in the UK, one of the two would have likely been upset due to the location. If the fight had taken place in Liverpool, it would have put Groves at a disadvantage and likely made him unhappy. If the fight had taken place in London, then Smith might be the unhappy one.