By: Ste Rowen
On Monday George ‘Saint’ Groves, former WBA super-middleweight champion, last seen fighting in the World Boxing Super Series final last September, has announced his retirement from boxing.
Playing a significant part of one of Britain’s most iconic sporting events, Groves leaves behind a legacy that will inspire future sportsmen and women, not just boxers.
In a snippet of the statement made via Instagram Groves said,
‘‘After taking a little time to reflect on the recent events in my career I have decided that it is time for me to retire as a professional fighter. In 2017 I boxed in front of a home crowd in Sheffield and became WBA super-middleweight world champion. After four attempts I had finally fulfilled my childhood dream and the experience was as great as I had always imagined it would be.
…Although we step through the ropes on our own, of course every fighter is backed by a team and not just the ones in the corner. There are many, many people that have helped me on my way to fulfilling my boxing dreams.
…I don’t want there to be a time where I’m ‘too old’ to box on or where an injury retires me in or out of the ring…I want to respectfully bow out while I’m still at the top of my game.’’
Groves also mentioned former opponent, Edward Gutknecht, who suffered life changing injuries after their 2016 bout,
‘‘A prayer for Edward Gutknecht who suffered a brain aneurysm after our fight in November 2016. He was put into an induced coma for 3 weeks and bravely fought his way back to consciousness. He lives in Germany with his wife, 3 children and a full-time carer…After winning the WBA world title I decided to only continue fighting while it felt necessary.’’
The full statement can be read here; https://www.instagram.com/p/BtLTP-8FHuC/
Now formally retired George’s professional record stands at 28-4 (20KOs), within that time achieving accolades that include the British, Commonwealth and ‘Super’ WBA super-middleweight belts. By the time he was 10-0, he had fought in Germany, Las Vegas and all over the UK, and already held the Lonsdale and Rainbow titles.
When Ricky Hatton made his unsuccessful return at the beginning of 2013, a void for British boxing needed to be filled, and Groves, along with Carl Froch filled it with firstly, their Manchester Arena fight in November that same year, which ended in controversy and then the super-event and ’80,000 people at Wembley’ in 2014.
Groves is the every-man boxer. A balding, pale, loud mouth challenger that got under the skin of the chiselled, unified 168lb champion at the time, Carl Froch. He went into his two most famous fights with avid supporters and rabid doubters. Even after getting knocked out in the rematch he was gracious in defeat.
Time and again he proved he was leagues above British, European and fringe level, sweeping aside the likes of Paul Smith, Charles Adamu a veteran Glen Johnson, and many years later, Martin Murray; as well as scoring a decision victory over Olympic gold medallist, and future world champion, James DeGale early on in both their careers.
When the time came to return to big time boxing, 14 months on from the Froch rematch, he travelled to Vegas to fight WBC champion, Badou Jack. Hitting the canvas in the first round, the Brit fought out to ultimately a split decision loss and it felt George was back to square one.
On the comeback trail from the Jack defeat George proved once again he was capable of challenging at the top again, stopping David Brophy and dominating Murray over 12 rounds, until his fourth opportunity to win a world title came along in the form of the WBA, held by Chudinov.
At Bramall Lane Stadium, on the undercard of Brook vs. Spence ‘The Saint’ achieved the ultimate objective. Through six rounds of what felt like all-out action, where both boxers were buzzed and hurt multiple times, Groves unleashed a brutal flurry and with no reply coming from the Russian, the referee stepped in to end the bout, an emotional George with arms held aloft in triumph, was lifted into the air by trainer, Shane McGuigan
A boxer’s rise almost seems incomplete without the fall and ultimately that’s what happened to ‘The Saint’ in his last fight in the World Boxing Super Series finale. Despite folding Jamie Cox in half in the quarter-finals with a 4th round body shot KO and outclassing Chris Eubank Jr in the semis (GG dislocated his shoulder in the later rounds), the final proved a step too far as Callum Smith consistently beat George to the punch and ultimately ground the ‘Saint’ down to a 7th round stoppage, finishing him off with a body-shot.
It was almost the perfect passing of the torch, although Groves will have wanted to keep hold of the metaphor, as well as his belt into retirement.
His fighting style had his lead hand low, and constant feinting; a boxing column about a Groves fight didn’t really count unless you mentioned how good he is behind the jab. His approach in the ring was just as synonymous as his entrance to it. When ‘Spitfire’ by The Prodigy rang out, and a hooded figure bowled towards the ring, you knew it was ‘The Saint’.
Memorable victories, famous defeats and multiple British classics. From Wembley Stadium to Las Vegas, Hammersmith to the Middle East, ‘Saint’ George Groves achieved the ultimate dream of becoming World champion, fighting the best along the way and leaves behind a boxer’s story that will live long in the memory of all hardcore and casual fans alike.
By: Ste Rowen
Callum Smith stopped George Groves in the 7th round in world class fashion, to become the new super middleweight WBA and Ring Magazine champion, as well as the first ever World Boxing Super Series super middleweight conqueror.
Tonight’s venue was the 10,000-capacity seat arena within Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, the first official event of its kind held in Saudi Arabia’s second largest city, but the unusual venue didn’t change the approach that usually starts George’s bouts.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
As always seems to be the case in Groves’ fights, the two fighters made a tentative start, both pawing away with the jab, attempting to find a weak spot early.
Smith, in the immaculate white and silver shorts, looked comfortable firing off the counter. The 2nd saw both fighters land eye-catching shots but it seemed the WBA champion’s work behind the jab made the difference.
With just over 1:30 left of round 3 though, ‘Mundo’ landed a counter-right hand that shook Groves, 28-3 (20KOs), enough to back him up and, for a brief moment, look shaky. Smith, 24-0 (17KOs) was unable to properly capitalise and ‘The Saint’ regained his equilibrium and end the round relatively well. Though Smith landed a crowd-pleasing right hand at the beginning of the 4th, George boxed smartly from there.
Smith seemed undeterred however, when his fellow Brit landed, Callum kept his head up and continued to maneuverer forward; even when, with 18 seconds left of the 5th, ‘Mundo’s’ feet were swept from underneath him after the two fighter’s legs became entangled.
Into 6 and 7 – despite another awkward fall that saw Smith on the canvas – it felt as if the WBC ‘Diamond’ champion was getting into his groove. He wasn’t just landing pleasing shots now, the Liverpudlian was forcing the tournament’s #1 seed further and further back.
With less than 1:20 left of round 7 Smith landed an almighty left hook that shook ‘The Saint’ to the ropes, unable to reply as ‘Mundo’ continued to land until he was forced to drop to his knee. The referee stepped in to call a conclusion to proceedings just as Callum landed one last right hand. A clinical finish from a man who is no doubt tired of being called un-proven. You can no longer label him that anymore.
With legends like Naseem Hamed and Evander Holyfield already in the ring, Rashida Ali, Muhammad’s daughter, presented Callum with the WBSS trophy to top off a lifechanging night for Callum Smith.
Now the main man at 168lb, Smith acknowledged the significance of tonight’s win.
‘‘It’s been a long time coming…I know how good I am, and I know I was good enough to become a world champion and become the best on the planet. I’ve had a slow couple of years and people kind of forgot me and forgot how good I was…I’ve reminded people how good I am.’’
‘‘It was a good fight. I felt I was ahead at the time of the stoppage. I feel I was beating him at his own game…I always knew I had the power to finish him, but I showed I could live with him, with my boxing ability as well.’’
‘‘Credit to George Groves, he’s a great champion. It was an honour to share the ring with him…I’ve never been satisfied but I think you’ve seen tonight how much this means to me. A lifetime’s work all rolled into one.’’
Groves was complimentary to the victor post-fight,
‘‘It was just not meant to be, full credit to Callum…He caught me with a body shot in the end, which is very embarrassing for me. I’ve never been caught with a body shot in my life, so I can’t believe he did it.’’
‘‘We knew he could punch. He’s got a higher reach on me as well, so I didn’t wanna go 50-50 with him and trade. I was making him miss and making him pay. He got the decisive shot in the end.’’
And when asked about his shoulder, previously injured in the WBSS semi-final,
‘‘I’m not here to make excuses, the shoulder worked. Callum, to his credit, was the better man on the night, and for someone like me, that’s tough to say…I’m not retiring, I don’t know what’s next, but it’s been a dogged year.’’
Now for only the 3rd time in the belt’s history, the Ring Magazine has an owner, the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight champion, Callum Smith.
On the undercard…
A bearded Chris Eubank Jr moved to 27-2 (21KOs) with a 3rd round technical knockout of JJ McDonagh. The southpaw from Ireland, McDonagh, bizarrely fell to the canvas in the 1st round after receiving what looked like a routine left hook to the side of the head. The Irishman regained his senses, but it put Chris up on the cards immediately. Eubank looked to have the upper hand, despite it being competitive, JJ pulled out at the end of round 3, seemingly a shoulder injury. In the corner between rounds 3 and 4, Eubank could be heard shouting to the opposite corner, ‘‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it.’’ Unfortunately for those watching, he did.
‘‘It was a good fight while it lasted but the going got too tough for him, so he quit.’’ Chris said post-fight. JJ McDonagh joined the interview and got himself riled up when Chris told him he could’ve fought on, leading the Irishman to say, ‘‘I’ll fight you right now with one hand.’’ A strange offer from a man who 10 minutes earlier, literally had the opportunity to fight him with one hand.
The 29-year-old was the main event’s injury reserve and although the tournament hasn’t unfolded the way he predicted, Eubank will no doubt have gained some new fans after two entertaining scraps with WBSS quarterfinalist, Avni Yildrim and tonight’s loser, George Groves.
Darren Surtees, an undefeated welterweight from County Durham scored a 2nd round knockout over 8-4, Kane Baker to improve his own record to 9-0 (6KOs). Baker was dropped in round 2 by a short-left hand, and then Surtees unleashed a volley of punches which ended in a left-hook which sent Baker falling into the ropes and eventually onto the canvas. Darren landed a cheeky right hand for good measure whilst his foe was on the way down.
The only representative of Saudi Arabia on the card, super lightweight, Zuhayr Al Qahtani moved to London when he was 12 and today, he moved to 5-0 (0KOs) after earning a 4-round decision over late replacement, Mohamed Mahmoud, whose now lost all six of his professional fights.
Al Qahtani looked slick as he landed quick-handed combinations, however it was Mahmoud who ended the 1st brightest, landing occasionally but clearly hard enough to upset Zuhayr’s flow. The fight continued to be entertaining, if a little stop-and-start due to holding and messy breaks but ultimately, ‘The Arabian Warrior’s’ performance was good enough to get the win.
Cruiserweight, Mikael ‘The Beast’ Lawal, 7-0 (5KOs) heading into tonight, added another W and KO to his pro record with a 3rd round knockout of journeyman-in-the-making, Tamas Kozma. The Hungarian, Kozma made the better start of the two but in the 3rd, Lawal landed a chopping overhand right to the back of the head, dropping his opponent to the canvas and ending the night early.
Heavyweight Kem Ljungquist of Denmark made light work of Mourad Omar by stopping the Egyptian after just two rounds, to move to 6-0 (4KOs). The Danish southpaw unrelentingly stalked the 4-1 fighter throughout the proceedings and just as the bell rang for the beginning of the 3rd, Omar told the referee he’d had enough and stayed seated to put an end to the bout.
By: Ste Rowen
Friday sees the super middleweight version of the World Boxing Super Series reach its crescendo as, George Groves takes on Callum Smith for the WBA ‘Super’, WBC ‘Diamond’ and Ring Magazine belts, as well as the crowning jewel of the tournament, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
On Wednesday afternoon, the two fighters went face to face for the penultimate time, at the final press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The WBA champion, Groves, was first up to speak,
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
‘‘We had a great camp in the end. It took a long time to get back to full fitness, but everything has gone as good as it possibly could…Arriving here (Saudi Arabia), it’s not as bad as you’re told back home…After such a long training camp, such a long time I can’t wait to fight. I can’t wait to collect some new belts and the Ali Trophy.’’
On this being the ‘pinnacle’ of his career,
‘‘I’ve been in some really big fights as a professional, numerous world title fights. Recently became the WBA champion, recently became ranked #1 in the division and what’s up for grabs this time round for me is the Ring Magazine belt and obviously the Ali trophy as well.’’
‘‘It’s gonna become a very prestigious tournament not only to win, but to be associated with. I’ll make sure that I win it and win it well.’’
Smith, 24-0 (17KOs), was in confident mood,
‘‘Every fighter starts boxing to become a world champion and I was no different. I turned professional and I believed my abilities were good enough to take me to the very top and Friday night I get a chance to be there.
A win over George puts me as the best super middleweight in the world, a world champion and Ring Magazine champion. It ticks a lot of boxes for me. There’s a lot at stake but that’s why I turned professional, for fights like these.’’
And his game plan to take home the heavy haul of titles on offer?
‘‘We’ll have to wait and see. I believe it’ll take a big performance. World championships don’t come easy, you don’t give it away. People have to earn them, and I understand that, and I’ve had a very good camp, pushed my body to the limits. Tactically I feel we worked well with Joe and stuff’s come off in sparring that we’ll feel the benefit of on the night.’’
Shane McGuigan, who also trains Josh Taylor and Luke Campbell was complimentary of his fighter’s opponent,
‘‘You’ve got a guy who’s 6ft or 5’11, and then you’ve got another guy who’s 6’3 and completely different styles, but that all backdates the whole way through training camp what we’re working on and we’ve sparred a lot of big tall guys. A lot of guys that are good at catching and counters on the inside, work the body well. All these things that Callum does very well, and I believe he’s a much better fighter than Chris Eubank Jr and George will have to be better on the night.’’
‘‘George has got the experience and I think the experience is gonna tell in this fight.’’
Callum’s coach, and 2015 Ring trainer of the year, Joe Gallagher was just as complimentary as Shane McGuigan when talking about the opposite corner,
‘‘The whole nation in the UK was really pleased for him when he became world champion, but this is now Callum Smith’s opportunity, his chance to shine. One he has to take with both hands. George has power in both hands, hits well, head and body, as does Callum Smith. Shane is on a good run of form at the moment with his stable, he had a great win last weekend with Luke Campbell…They’ll come bouncing into this fight…I feel a bit like Dillian Whyte here by saying, ‘Let’s Go Champ!’ You have that type of mentality.’’
‘‘We are fighting the ranked #1 fighter in the world so, when we beat George Groves we are beating the #1 without a question of a doubt…We’re not considered the 3rd or the 4th best but, we’re considered the number 1 best.’’
Friday’s final will be Groves’ 7th world title fight, losing three of those bouts. If you discount the WBC Diamond belt – which you should – it will be Smith’s first ever shot at world honours.
The main event ring walks are expected to take place at 9pm UK time/4pm Eastern.
By: Michael Kane
George Groves and Callum Smith spoke to the media ahead of their World Boxing Super Series final bout.
The Ali Trophy is up for grabs to end the inaugural middleweight season, delayed by a few months due to Groves suffering a shoulder injury.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
The bout between the two Englishman takes place in an unusual location, the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Groves is the current WBA Super World Champion, while Smith is the WBC Diamond title holder, the Ring magazine title will also be up for grabs.
Here is what the fighters had to say at the press conference:
“It’s great to finally be only a day or two away from the fight. We’ve had a great camp in the end. It took a long time to get back to full fitness, but we’re there now, and everything has gone as good as it possibly could. After such a long training camp and a long time since my last win, I can’t wait to fight and to collect some new belts and the Ali Trophy.
“I have been involved in some real big fights as a professional. I recently became WBA Super Champion and ranked number one in the division. Up for grabs for me this time around is the Ring Magazine belt, the WBC Diamond Championship and obviously the Ali Trophy as well.
“The tournament is only in year one, but everyone is extremely excited about it. It is a very prestigious thing to be associated with it, and I’m going to make sure I win it and win it well to stake my claim as the number one in the division.”
“It is a massive opportunity for me. Every fighter who starts boxing dreams of becoming a World Champion and I was no different. I turned professional and I believed my abilities were good enough to tell me to the very top and Friday night I get a chance to be there.
“A win over George puts me as the best super middleweight in the world, and a World Champion and a Ring Magazine Champion. It ticks a lot of boxes for me this fight, there is a lot at stake and that’s why I turned professional, for fights like these. I’ excited. I’m in a good place. I feel good, I feel strong. I’m ready to do what I came here to do and that’s become a World Champion.”
Shane McGuigan (Groves coach):
“It’s very different (from Eubank Jr. fight). You’ve got a guy who’s 6 foot or 5’11 and another guy whose 6’3’’. Completely different styles and that has been reflected in our training camp.
“I believe Callum is a much better fighter than Eubank Jr. and George will have to be better on the night, but I’m very confident that we are going to come away with the win. George has got the experience and I think the experience is going to tell in this fight. Calum has been in this position for a very long time. He has waited for this opportunity so we are expecting the very best Callum Smith.”
Joe Gallagher (Smith coach):
“There’s not much really to be said here. You’ve got the number one and number two seed of the tournament meeting in the final. Everyone is well aware of George Groves. His attempts at World titles and becoming World Champion, for which I think the whole nation in the UK was really pleased for him.
“This is now Callum Smith’s opportunity. His chance to shine, and he’s now got to go take this opportunity with both hands. We’re excited and ready to go, and ready to take care of business on Friday night.”
Wilfried Sauerland (Hall of Fame Promoter):
“For us it is a big day on Friday when we come to the final of the first round of the World Boxing Super Series. We’ve had one final already in Moscow and on Friday it will be the final everybody has been looking forward to in the super middleweight division, one of the strongest divisions in boxing.
“On Friday, we have the two best super middleweights in he world fighting on Friday for this most prestigious trophy and I myself can’t wait to see this fight. That means something when, like me, you have seen thousands of fights. It will be a very special occasion.”
Fans in the UK can watch Groves vs Smith LIVE on ITV Box Office. Ringwalks for the final will be at 9.00 pm UK time. Registration is open at itvboxoffice.com.
Fans in the U.S. can watch LIVE on DAZN, the global sports streaming platform. To sign up for a one-month free trial, fans can visit DAZN.com or download the DAZN app to their preferred connected device.
By: Ste Rowen
This Friday night the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series champion will be crowned as, ‘Saint’ George Groves goes up against Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith for the WBA ‘Super’ strap, the Muhammad Ali Trophy and, for only the 3rd time in 168lb history, the Ring Magazine title.
Groves 28-3 (20KOs), will finish the tournament as he started it, against English opposition. In the quarter finals, the Hammersmith native folded an unbeaten Jamie Cox in half with a brutal body shot in the 4th round. His next opponent was of course, the smooth talking, high-volume punching, Chris Eubank Jr.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Groves proved a level above that night as well, inside Manchester Arena, accelerating ahead on the score cards, making a highly touted Eubank, look very basic. Despite George dislocating his shoulder in the championship rounds, he continued to land heavy shots and move well enough to avoid a late onslaught from Jr.
The 30-year-old took a unanimous decision and, speaking in the Super Series’ pre-fight documentary, is now ready to defend his WBA ‘Super’ belt for a third time and claim his place in boxing history as the first super middleweight WBSS champion,
‘‘This will be the pinnacle of my career.’’
‘‘We’re supremely confident about this fight. I’ve had my eye on Callum Smith for years now. He was the favourite before the tournament started so there are a lot of people believe in his abilities to a certain degree. I’m looking forward to proving those people wrong.’’
As mentioned earlier, Groves dislocated his shoulder in the final stages of his action-packed semi-final victory back in February and had to have surgery to properly repair and recover, which pushed the original July date, for the final, back to late September. But the ‘Saint’ promised that he’s back and better than ever now,
‘‘It’s taken an awful lot of work to get it back, far more than I anticipated…We’re doing shoulder specific work but now we’re at the point where there’s nothing we can’t do which is the most important thing.’’
‘‘I am boxing better than ever, and I don’t see Callum posing a threat. I expect another comfortable win.’’
Smith, 24-0 (17KOs) has arguably had a trickier route to the final. He drew the unbeaten Swede, Erik Skoglund, 26-0 at the time, for his Echo Arena quarter final. It was unquestionably ‘Mundo’s’ biggest test to date as Skoglund was unafraid take Smith’s attack and land his own.
It proved costly as in the 11th round, Callum landed a fantastic counter-right hand which wobbled Erik and setup four consecutive punches without reply, forcing the Swede to take a knee. The only blot on that night was the wide scorecards that favoured Smith but didn’t do justice to his opponent’s performance.
It was then onto what was originally a final-four date with Juergen Braehmer but, in fight-week, the German veteran pulled out due to illness. In came the slightly left field injury reserve, former kick boxing world champion and 13-0 (10KOs), Nieky Holzken. The Dutchman, like Skoglund, wasn’t afraid of marching forward, unfortunately it was quite clear early on that Callum wasn’t too concerned with the power Nieky had on offer.
But, yet again Smith was taken the full 12 rounds, this time however, the dominant scorecards in favour of ‘Mundo’, matched the fight in the ring. The youngest of the Smith boxing family clearly recognises the magnitude of Friday’s event,
‘‘Every fight I’ve had so far has been leading to this.’’
‘‘I’ve always felt that when I’ve been up against it and needed to perform, I’ve always delivered and there’s no bigger time to deliver than in the World Boxing Super Series final against George Groves. I know Groves very well, I’ve watched him for a very long time.’’
‘‘He’s (Groves) got good strength, got a good jab, he’s heavy handed. Defensively, I don’t feel he’s the best, and there’s little, slight things I’ve seen over the years I feel I could take advantage of.’’
‘‘I just feel I’m a better fighter than anyone he’s fought in this tournament…I am looking forward to becoming a world champion.’’
Originally intended to be the venue for the cruiserweight final between Usyk and Gassiev, the 10,000-seat capacity arena within the King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah will host the all British super-middleweight bout. It’s first ever boxing event at the ‘Shining Jewel’ complex.
The winner on Friday will join Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward as the only men to claim the super middleweight Ring belt. Boxing this September has very much been the definition of ‘legacy fight’ month.
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night in Manchester, an all-British world title fight takes place when WBA super middleweight champion, George Groves 27-3 (20KOs), steps into the ring with IBO belt holder, Chris Eubank Jr 26-1 (20KOs) in the much-anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.
Both boxers made easy work of their quarterfinal opponents back in October.
At Wembley Arena, ‘Saint’ George Groves knocked out fellow Brit, Jamie Cox in the 4th round with a clinical body shot that kept Cox down for the count and served as Groves’ first defence of his WBA belt, which he won back in April after stopping Fedor Chudinov.
In the pre-fight documentary, still available on the WBSS YouTube channel, Groves said…
‘I don’t like to waste shots so anything I do throw, believe me you’re gonna get hit with it… There’s absolutely nothing there for me to worry about because there’s gaping, gaping holes in that style, in that approach.
He’s a blown-up middleweight who’s come into this tournament to try and build his profile… If he managed to beat me he’ll be the next coming but if he fails he’s gonna have the biggest fall from grace that we’ve had in this country for a long time.’
Away from home and in the heated atmosphere of Stuttgart, Eubank knocked out, walking punchbag Avni Yildrim in the 3rd round of his quarterfinal bout, with a devastating right hook that finished the Turk off, after already forcing his opponent into briefly taking a knee in the first round following an uppercut.
Speaking on his own and his opponent’s capabilities, Chris was in confident mood…
‘It’s more than possible to push through that pain barrier and get up, and I’m sure that he’ll try and use that against me and I’m sure I’ll be prepared for it… It won’t go the 12 rounds, somebody’s getting knocked out. This chin doesn’t have an off button, his does.
I don’t have any hate for the guy, he’s just a guy with a belt that I need to get passed to win the tournament. I keep my emotions out of boxing. It’s nothing personal, it’s just punishment.’
It’s a difficult fight to conclusively call. It could come down to how well Groves weathers the storm in the early rounds and whether his chin holds up as well as it did against Chudinov. Along with being able to slip and counter off the ropes, if Groves is able to fire off the selection of shots we’ve seen in his 6-fight win streak since losing to Badou Jack back in 2015, Eubank will need to do more to protect himself when those huge swinging hooks go amiss.
Eubank may not be pillow-fisted, but he’s lacking that one-punch KO power. Even in his previous bout, the IBO champion constantly landed cleanly throughout the 3 rounds. It’s difficult to envisage a scenario where a seasoned pro like George Groves, gives his semi-final foe so many opportunities to take him out.
The second semi-final takes place next week in Nuremberg as super middle & light heavyweight veteran, Jurgen Braehmer, 49-3 (35KOs) goes up against 23-0 (17KOs) Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith. The winners will progress to a final that’s expected to take place in early June at London’s O2 arena.
On the undercard, and as long as there’s no late injury to either of the main event fighters, WBSS super middleweight injury reserve, Zach Parker, 14-0 (10KOs) will take on 16-6-2 (10KOs), Adasat Rodriguez.
Two British title fights will also be on the undercard as Ryan Walsh takes on unbeaten, Isaac Lowe; and Tommy Langford is up against Jack Arnfield for the middleweight belt.
Both Walsh and Lowe have a mutual opponent on their records in Denis Ceylan who Lowe fought to a disputed draw, in March 2017; Walsh was beaten on a split decision to Ceylan five months earlier.
It’ll be the first time Tommy Langford, 19-1 (6KOs) defends his British title since 2016, after a 1-1 record in 2017. He was comprehensively knocked out by Avtandil Khurtsidze back in April and ended the year with a routine comeback points victory over 11-36-1 Miguel Aguilar. Jack Arnfield is currently on a six-fight win streak including wins over John Ryder, and former junior middleweight world title challenger, Brian Rose.
By: Niki Ross
Last week saw the Matchroom card “British Beef” take place at the London O2 Arena, the main event pitted Olympian Lawrence Okolie against the skilled prospect Issac Chamberlain.
This was promoted as a grudge match between two hungry prospects at the start of their career looking to chalk up the first significant win over a local rival. Unfortunately, despite one of the fighters being nicknamed “Sauce”, the main event of British Beef turned out to be pretty tough to swallow.
All eyes will now be turning to Feb 17th. This fight should be close and action is nothing short of certain. Both fighters look to secure a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament against Callum Smith and both fighters have had wars in sparring previously. History and bad blood makes this an intriguing fixture.
Chris Eubank Jr is pencilled as the bookmaker’s favourite. His recent wins have been a display of eye watering hand speed and versatile punch selection. He is comfortable lashing in five and six punch combinations which often pass in the blink of an eye. As with most young athletes these days he has also taken to YouTube to help raise his stock with footage of sparring and tearing apart punch bags. Regularly putting the hurt on unwitting sparring partners in a grandiose display of poor sportsman which smells like it has Eubank Snr’s influence all over it.
To the casual fan, Eubank Jr will be an attractive fighter to invest time and money in. Loosely following the Mayweather blueprint, he likes to showboat and entertain with gym clips and cute training montages. Take a look at his boxing record however and you’ll see that its built on soft ground. He’s yet to face an elite level fighter. On his day Billy Joe Saunders is world class and that’s where Eubank Jr came unstuck previously. Since that loss he has failed to up the standard of competition to a level where he really tests himself and learns the crucial lessons about swimming in deep waters. Of his 20 KO’s only one has been a straight knockout, the rest were all TKO’s. Chris Eubank Jr, for all his gusto, lacks knockout power.
George Groves has previously walked the walk and he’s consistently fought tougher opposition. A new partnership with trainer Shane McGuigan has sparked a renaissance in George Groves winning a world title in the process. Unlike Eubank Jr, Groves has punching power which can stop a man dead. Carl Froch went down for the second time in his colourful career when Groves delivered a solid right hand, the Cobra was not a man who was easily hurt.
The physical attributes of both fighters will probably be where this fight is won or lost. Eubank Jr is not a big 168lb’er and his lack of knockout power highlights this. If he maintains a high punch output he should see out a victory, a stoppage is possible, George Groves is not a hard man to hit. Groves on the other hand is the natural super middleweight, he has power, he hits hard. He’s seen off a number of quality opponents and the experience will give him an extra advantage in this fight. If he can withstand Eubank Jr’s ferocious onslaughts his power and experience could prevail in the later rounds. Eubank has a very slim torso, some early body work could take the wind out of his sails if Groves can find his way in.
This is a good match up which will answer more questions than it creates. If Eubank Jr scores an impressive victory he has to be taken serious as a top contender at super middleweight. If Groves picks up the win it cements his status in the divison as a dangerous title holder. His CV is rich with credible opponents and career defining fights. He seldom made it easy for himself, his victories have not always been convincing but he’s come through them and in the process learned more about himself and the sport than his opponent. It is refreshing that with this tournament, boxing has produced such an organic means of crowning the best fighter in a division. For these two fighters however, this fight already brings the gravity of a final, in terms of significance, this fight is the one which neither fighter can afford to lose.
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 21st to November 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Holyfield and Arum Headline 2018 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Class
Evander Holyfield and Bob Arum headline the 2018 inductees into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) has announced its 25 member 2018 Induction Class, which also includes President Donald J. Trump. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 1 – 3, 2018.
Atlantic City, New Jersey Mayor-Elect Frank M. Gilliam Jr. commented, “The future of boxing in Atlantic City is brighter than ever. Being the newly elected Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, New Jersey it gives me great honor to be a part of bringing the 2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend back to our Great City. I believe boxing and Atlantic City has always been a natural fit and we see it returning to its glory days, and under my administration, we plan on welcoming it back wholeheartedly: Congratulations to the ACBHOF “2018” Inductees!”
The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend, “The Claridge is proud to be in partnership with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and to continue to promote professional boxing’s exceptional history in Atlantic City,” says Cem Erenler, Vice President/ Operations & Business Development for TMJ Properties, the owner and developer of The Claridge. The iconic hotel, which is now part of the global Radisson brand first opened in 1930. “Hosting this signature event is in the best traditions of The Claridge, which for more than 80 years has been Atlantic City’s center for exciting events in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Erenler said.
Evander Holyfield stated: “I have many great memories fighting in Atlantic City, and I am honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.”
The 2nd Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend will honor some of the world’s most prominent trailblazers from the sport of boxing: President Donald J. Trump, José Sulaimán, and Bob Arum are just a few names who will be enshrined with the 2018 induction class. Also expected to be in attendance; current and former boxing champions, and VIP Guests for a fun-filled weekend that’s highlighted by a black-tie evening, and the acclaimed, unforgettable Induction Ceremony.
“The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is here to stay! The epic success of our 2017 Inaugural Induction weekend was pivotal to our brand value in the boxing and business community,” said Rodrick Green Vice President and Business Strategist for ACBHOF. “We are excited about the economic and sports entertainment impact the ACBHOF will continue to have in Atlantic City. Thank you for your support and be reassured that at the 2018 Induction Celebration the bar will be raised even higher.
Over the next several weeks there will be updates on the schedule of events, room packages and expected VIP appearances on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.
“We’re excited about the ACBHOF 2018 Induction Class; I believe our nomination committee did an incredible job in selecting a diverse and richly deserving group of individuals. I’m extremely proud of this class because it contains three remarkable women: Diane Fischer-Cristiano, Jean Williams, and Marian Muhammad. The ACBHOF team along with our partners and sponsors are looking forward to June where we will pay homage to our 2018 inductees,” said Ray McCline ACBHOF President and Founder.
Tickets for Groves-Eubank Jr. Sold Out in Seven Minutes
It took seven minutes to sell out the Ali Trophy semi-final bout between WBA Super World Champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and IBO-Champ Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1,20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena on February 17, 2018.
Europe’s largest purpose-built indoor arena will be at capacity to witness what promises to be the biggest Super Middleweight night in years.
“This is a sensational start to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa’s CEO.
“I said before we went on sale that the fight between Groves and Eubank Jr. represents the boxing event fans cannot afford to miss, and I am happy to say that I was right.”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “This is clearly the fight everyone wanted and I am sure this super-fight will capture not only a nation but a generation of fight fans.”
“The build-up is going to be huge and we can’t wait to go to Manchester for a sold out event between two spectacular rivals and world-class fighters.”
“We will work hard over the coming weeks to release extra tickets to meet the huge demand for this fight.”
The build-up to the all-British grudge match begins today when Groves and Eubank Jr. come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference at 2 pm in London.
ITV will be live streaming the press conference on ITV Box Office, YouTube and Facebook.
The Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. will be live on ITV Box Office on February 17.
Lucas Matthysse and Jorge Linares to Headline HBO Card at Los Angeles Forum
Two of the world’s most exciting fighters, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), will kick off the 2018 boxing year with a bang as they compete in separate world championship bouts on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
The first co-main event will see the 35-year-old Matthysse, an absolutely thunderous puncher out of Chubut, Argentina, facing undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship.
“I am honored to be able to fight for a world championship in just my second fight at welterweight,” said Matthysse, a former interim world champion at 140 pounds who has defeated the likes of former two-division champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, formerWBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and former three-division titlist Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto. “I understand I am facing a younger, undefeated opponent, but I am confident that ‘The Machine’ will emerge victorious.”
Since turning pro at the age of 15, Kiram has torn through an astounding 38 opponents, with 28 of them never hearing the final bell. He won the interim PABA Welterweight Championship in just his sixth fight and defended it – and the full PABA Welterweight title – more than 30 times over seven years. This will mark his first fight outside of Thailand.
“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA Welterweight World Championship around my waist.”
In the second co-main event, Linares, a 32-year-old Venezuelan considered one of the top fighters in the world, will make his second trip to the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in a row to defend his multiple lightweight world championships against the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).
“I have travelled all over the world to win and defend my titles, and I am looking forward to having my hand raised in victory once again in America,” said Linares, the three-division world champion who holds victories over world champions and contenders such as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla, Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz. “I know that Gesta has speed and power, but he hasn’t been at this level before, and on Jan. 27, he’ll know what it’s like to face a world champion.”
Gesta, a 30-year-old from the Philippines, has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. Gesta is getting his second shot at a world championship more than five years after dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel “Titere” Vazquez for the IBF World Lightweight Championship.
“I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship, and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” Gesta said. “I understand Linares is a great fighter, but I know I have the skills, speed, power, and great coaching which will get my hand raised in victory.”
“What a way to kick of 2018 – with two of the top fighters in the sport taking on younger, hungry challengers,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s not often you get two main events on one card, but that is what we will have on Jan. 27 at the “Fabulous” Forum. This card will help keep the momentum that boxing established in 2017.”
“This is a very important fight for Argentine boxing, for Lucas Matthysse and for Arano Box,” said Mario Arano of Arano Boxing. “Matthysse is ready to be a world champion, and we are more than sure that his win will make huge waves throughout the entirety of the Republic of Argentina and South America.”
“Thailand has never had a Welterweight World champion before,” said Taweesin Terry Laosuwanwat, Manager and Promoter of Kiram. “We are making history here, and Tewa [Kiram] will do anything to win this fight. Tewa has never lost before, and he will keep his undefeated record against Matthysse.”
The remainder of the undercard and the ticket information for this stacked event will be announced shortly.
Jose Lopez to Take on Avery Sparrow in New Co-Main Event on November 30th ESPN Show
Super featherweight contender José “Wonder Boy” López (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will now take on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in the new co-main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The event will also feature the headlining debut of Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) as he defends his WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title against Rey “Flash” Pérez (21-8, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Undercard will stream on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m.ET/8 p.m. PT.
López, a 23-year-old contender who is coming off a four-fight win streak, has earned two regional titles since making his debut in Sept. 2011. In 2014, Lopez defeated veteran Leivi Brea to win the Interim WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title via first-round technical knockout. Two years later, López captured the WBO International Super Featherweight Title by defeating Edgar López Sasso via stunning second-round knockout. López was originally scheduled to fight against Miguel “Miguelito” González, but González was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in his left arm when sparring.
Sparrow, who is also 23-years-old will took to take advantage of his first co-main event opportunity. The Philadelphian is coming off a four-fight win streak, defeating two undefeated prospects in his last two fights.
Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Ávila (22-1, 8 KOs) will take on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya in an eight-round featherweight fight. Ávila will return after his only defeat, which was in a tough battle against Joseph Diaz, Jr. on the Canelo vs. Chávez Jr. undercard in May of this year. The featherweight contender is looking to get back into the 126-pound mix before the year ends.
In the night’s swing bout, George Rincón (2-0) of Dallas, Texas will take on Jihad Wise (3-3, 1 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a four-round 140-pound clash. Rincón’s brother, Alex Rincón, was originally scheduled to be in the swing bout, but the welterweight prospect who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions was forced to pull out and undergo surgery as he has been diagnosed with appendicitis.
Luther Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) of Alexandria, Virginia will open the night of boxing in a four-round bout in the cruiserweight division against an opponent that will be announced shortly.
Roach, Jr. vs. Pérez is a 10-round super featherweight fight for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live from MGM National Harbor at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
Tickets for Roach, Jr. vs Pérez are on sale and are priced at $75 VIP, $75, $55 and $35, not including taxes or fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Ticketmaster Contact Center at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.goldenboytickets.com.
Nico Hernandez Injured, Fight Posptoned
Due to an injury suffered by 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez last week at training camp, this Saturday night’s “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, has been postponed until February 10, at the same venue, Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
The 21-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to headline the event in his hometown against Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight championship.
The promoter plans to keep the card intact, as much as possible, and he is hopeful that Ajtai is available to challenge Hernandez for the IBA Americas title.
“Injuries are an unfortunate part of boxing, but the good news is that Nico will be 100-percent ready to go February 10th,” promoter John Andersen said. “I know that Nico feels that he’s letting everybody down but, at the end of the day, all that really counts is his health. He’s a tough kid who has his entire pro career ahead of him.”
“Over the last six months, Nico has become like family to the Hartman Arena staff,” said Hartman Arena Executive Director, Ben Bolander. “We wish the best for him and hope for a speedy recovery, so we can see him back here in February fighting for the title.”
TIckets to the December 2nd event will still be honored at the February 10 event. If ticket holders, are unable to attend the new event date, full refunds will be offered at the point of purchase. Tickets will remain on sale for the February 10, 2018 event date.
By: Ste Rowen
In the third Super Middleweight Quarter Final of the World Boxing Super Series, George Groves stepped up his claim to be the number one, Super Middleweight in Britain and the world as ‘The Saint’ landed a perfect body shot to stop Jamie Cox in the fourth round.
Cox, 24-0-0 heading into the bout, was looking to make a statement from the start, rushing into the bigger man from the first bell and forcing the WBA Champ onto the backfoot. Groves remained composed though as he blocked and deflected Cox’s best efforts through round two.
It became a scrappy affair at the end of round two and through round three as the smaller man, Jamie Cox, looked to rough up Groves. But again, his efforts went wanting, as Groves remained superior. Cox unloaded at an impressive pace but Groves ate up the punches and remained the more clinical of the two fighters.
Going into the fourth, it was more of the same with Cox looking to establish some kind of superiority until, as Cox continued to unload, he left himself open to the body and Groves, now 27-2-0, sent a crunching right hand that folded Jamie Cox in half and ended the bout.
Speaking at the post fight press conference Groves said, ‘I fought I boxed really, really well. I knew Jamie had tremendous heart, lots of balls. He walked through big shots that I was landing, so he was always dangerous. He certainly deserves to be at this level. We had fun and games in the buildup. I put him down a little bit but I knew that he was better than what I was saying but I think I boxed tremendous tonight, there’s always room for improvement. If anyone was down with whether I was a flash in the pan world title win, I think they know now that I mean business.’
On the upcoming semifinal and facing Eubank Jr, the WBA Champion said, ‘This Eubank Jr fight, I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I’m very excited about it. Eubank’s improved over the years but he hasn’t boxed anyone on my level. I know if I box like I did tonight, he doesn’t stand a chance. The fight fans out there now are excited about what’s coming. I’m excited.’
The Groves v Eubank semifinal is set for early 2018.
By: Ste Rowen
The third Super Middleweight World Boxing Super Series quarter final is set to take place at Wembley Arena on Saturday night in an all British match-up between WBA World Champion ‘Saint’ George Groves (26-3-0 19KOs) and the former Commonwealth Champion Jamie Cox (24-0-0 13 KOs). An accumulation of joy, relief and sadness hit George Groves when at the fourth time of asking he had become the newly crowned WBA titleholder. At Bramall Lane, England in May this year Fedor Chudinov gave his all, forcing ‘The Saint’ into rough waters and displaying an impressive chin but ultimately Groves’ relentlessness, world class jab and power showed as the referee stopped Chudinov on his feet in the sixth round of an all action bout.
Photo Credit: WBSS
It’s been a long winding road for the 29-year-old Londoner. He’s been part of, and victorious in one of the best British-prospect rivalries between himself and current IBF Super Middleweight Champion James Degale. He was one half of two fantastic all British world title fights, facing up against former WBA and IBF Super Middleweight Champion, Carl Froch.
Once in Manchester, then again at the fabled ‘80,000 people’ at Wembley Stadium. He lost both fights. Unfairly stopped in the first and indisputably beaten in the second as Froch knocked out Groves with the last punch of his career.
But Groves’ stature and popularity has grown ten-fold because of, and since then. He’s had his rough times. In the lead up to the first Froch fight he split with his only pro career coach, Adam Booth. After defeat in his third world title shot to Badou Jack in Vegas via split decision, Groves separated with trainer, Paddy Fitzpatrick. Then in the midst of cementing the foundations of a fourth world title shot; tragedy. He fought and defeated Edward Gutkneckht in a one-sided fight that, in truth should’ve been stopped earlier than it was. Gutknecht suffered swelling on the brain and to this day remains unable to speak or walk. Life had to go on for Groves though and the WBA World Title needed a champion to hold it, and so it did when he beat Chudinov in Sheffield.
The Muhammad Ali Trophy awaits and Jamie Cox is the first barrier to it. Jamie Cox is the relative unknown heading into this bout. Despite a successful amateur career that included a commonwealth gold in 2006, Jamie Cox has never established himself in the pros. Up until 2013 he was fighting at the light middleweight limit, even calling out then British Champion Kell Brook in 2009. Personal problems have also blighted his career and been the cause of inactivity, including an almost two-year absence from the ring between June 2013 to February 2015. The southpaw fights to impress in the early rounds but a tendency to stay on the inside is a concern when he’s up against someone with as impressive a right hook as Groves has got. The standard of opponents up until now is also a concern for Cox. His stand out wins have come against Hungarian Ferenc Albert in a first round knockout, Commonwealth Champion at the time Obodai Sai and a tenround decision win over Martin Fidel Rios in a dirty affair which saw Cox have two points deducted and Rios three. The World Boxing Super Series has created a platform that, for better or worse has set up bouts that wouldn’t normally be looked on as standalone world title fights. George Groves said himself at the quarter final draw that he chose Cox as his opponent because he is the ‘easiest route’. There are stories though of Jamie Cox’s power in sparring and his natural stance and come forward mentality has led to him leading with the head causing his competitors problems, including cuts, that his opponents hadn’t planned for.
It’s a problem Groves will have to nullify before Cox can gain momentum in the early rounds. Whoever comes out victorious on Saturday night, Chris Eubank Jr awaits in the semifinal and the IBO Champion is riding high on a wave of momentum since his one punch knockout of Turkish, Avni Yildrim last weekend. It’s set up for an all British semifinal, meaning for certain that there will be a Brit in the final of the WBSS.
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 18th to July 25th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO Sports 24/7 Canelo/Golovkin Debuts August 26th
HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, will return for its 23rd multi-part boxing installment with 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN, it was announced today by Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. The two-part behind-the-scenes series follows two elite fighters – Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin – as they prepare for their middleweight championship megafight title showdown Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts SATURDAY, AUG. 26 (midnight-12:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the previously announced “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader that begins at 9:45 p.m. (ET/PT).
The show will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals.
“The boxing world has eagerly anticipated this middleweight showdown between two of the best fighters and biggest stars in the sport,” said Bernstein. “We now get to present them and their preparations for this long-awaited encounter in the ring.”
Episode two of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts one week before the high-stakes bout, on Saturday, Sept. 9 (1:00-1:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the “HBO Boxing After Dark” tripleheader that begins at 10:15 p.m. (ET/PT).
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews, as the fighters gear up in Southern California for their Las Vegas collision in the ring. Both men rank high on many pound-for-pound lists and have been dominant in the middleweight division.
Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is again holding camp with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso. The 27-year-old phenom is coming off a dominant victory over fellow countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May and is on a seven-bout winning streak that has reinforced his elite standing in the middleweight ranks. His drawing power as the sport’s top pay-per-view attraction has been demonstrated both at the box office and in pay-per-view performance.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, now living in Los Angeles, is training with the acclaimed Abel Sanchez. The undefeated 35-year-old has compiled an extraordinary knockout-to-win ratio of 89%, while only three of his fights have gone past the eighth round and only one has lasted the full 12 rounds. Golovkin’s dramatic ring style has transformed him into one of the sport’s brightest stars in a few short years and he has sold out arenas from New York to California.
Canelo’s fourth “24/7” appearance and Golovkin’s second, 24/7 CANELO/GOLVKIN is the latest installment of the acclaimed franchise that began in 2007. Among the most-honored sports series on TV, it was called “a masterfully entertaining reality show” by ESPN The Magazine.
“Canelo vs. Golovkin” will take place at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/5:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.
The executive producer of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN is Rick Bernstein; senior producers, Dave Harmon and Bentley Weiner; producers, Harley Glantz, Abtin Motia and Christine Wilt; writer, Aaron Cohen. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Mayweather/McGregor Ticket Market Following Monday’s Online Sale
The PPV Price is $89.95 for SD or $99.95 for HD. Most experts see this reaching similar buyrate numbers to Mayweather/Pacquiao (4 million+ buys)
Face value of tickets range from $500-$10,000 and went on-sale Monday July 24. However, secondary market tickets are seeing up to a 400% premium on face value and currently range from $2,145-$20,000. POST ON-SALE: After Monday’s on-sale there was an increase of about 7% (36 tickets) listed on the secondary market, bringing the current total to about 500 listed on the secondary market. The 500 tickets available is just 2.5% of T-Mobile Arena’s capacity, so secondary prices aren’t likely to drop significantly between now and the fight.
Average price actually rose from $6,256 on Monday morning to $7,190 (15%) by Monday evening, but the cheapest seat fell from $2,500 to $2,145 (-14%) in the same time frame.(https://www.tiqiq.com/fight/c onor-mcgregor-tickets/conor-mc gregor-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr- -08-26-2017/4035147264396)
If all PPV targets are hit, Mayweather could make $400 million and McGregor $127 million (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ brianmazique/2017/06/16/the-es timated-purses-for-floyd-maywe ather-vs-conor-mcgregor-fight- are-staggering/#47d12d423d00)
Mayweather is favored to win the fight with 1/6 odds, but the most popular bet is currently for McGregor at 11/2 odds. (https://www.oddschecker.com/ boxing/floyd-mayweather-jr-v- conor-mcgregor/winner)
This is by far the most expensive combat sports event we’ve tracked in terms of average price.
Average price for Mayweather/Pacquiao at the same time range (approx. 5 weeks out) was $5,312. So tickets dropped on average 9% leading up to the fight.
Some other notes:
According to Priceline.com, a Vegas 4-Star hotel on the night of the fight will cost a minimum of $135. By comparison, rates are as low as $68 the Saturday beforehand (Aug 19), marking a 98% premium on hotels during fight weekend.
The undercard is currently scheduled to consist of only boxing matches, no MMA.
McGregor is the more active of the two on Social Media, and has over 26 million followers between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Mayweather’s social media accounts are more geared towards his line of products, yet he eclipses McGregor by over 10 million followers across the same social platforms.
Both McGregor & Mayweather are WWE fans and WWE officials are trying to secure one or both to make an appearance on an episode on WWE Raw in the weeks leading up to the fight. Fun Fact: Floyd Mayweather competed in a semi-main event match at Wrestlemania 24 defeating “The Big Show” Paul Wight by knockout. Wight is billed as 7 feet tall and 383 pounds.
Chivas Fight Club Launches with Boxer Gennady “GGG” Golovkin
Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, is aiming to inspire a new generation while making a positive impact on the lives of others by introducing The Chivas® Fight Club. This initiative extends to every individual with a fighting spirit from communities nationwide and is centered on boxing in partnership with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Gennady is boxing’s unified WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO middleweight champion of the world, who personifies the Chivas spirit of shared success and dedication, both in and out of the ring.
“This movement is special to Chivas as it brings to life our core values, embracing the mixture of cultures and importance of shared success, as every person has a unique battle they fight with passion, gloves on and off,” said Shefali Murdia, Brand Director for Chivas Regal, Pernod Ricard USA. “Like the Chivas brothers, Gennady comes from humble beginnings and has allowed his dreams to push him to where he is today, all while staying true to his values and Winning the Right Way.”
The Kazakhstan-born fighter began his boxing career at an early age and immediately demonstrated his diligent work ethic, representing his home country at the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he won a middleweight silver medal. The fighter now boasts the top knockout ratio in middleweight championship history, an impressive 89.8 percent. Golovkin enters the ring as the face of The Chivas® Fight Club campaign, a nationwide effort promoting the unique fighter within every individual, offering exclusive access to activities, events and content for those who enter
“The Chivas Fight Club stands for the things that I believe in and represents the heart and soul of the fighter in all of us,” Golovkin said. “When I wrap my hands, I do it for my family. I owe my courage to them and also my success. That’s why I fight.”
All consumers and fans are invited to join The Chivas® Fight Club by sharing what they are fighting for by using the hashtag #FightForIt on social media. Those who join the club will be entered into sweepstakes for a chance to see Golovkin’s upcoming bout on September 16th against Canelo Alvarez, and gain exclusive entry into watch parties and boxing workout classes. Chivas® Fight Club members will also receive inspiration to “Fight for It” with exclusive boxing content, interviews, videos, behind-the-scenes photos, calendar of upcoming Chivas Regal boxing events, and more. Additional program incentives will continue to be rolled out following the campaign launch.
For more information on the Chivas Fight Club and Chivas Regal visit www.ChivasFightClub.com.
All British Quarter Final Clash for Muhammad Ali Trophy Between WBA World Champion Groves and Cox at the SSE Arena, Wembley on October 14th in London
The first domestic showdown of the World Boxing Super Series is scheduled for October 14th when top seeded super middleweight George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) puts his WBA World title on the line against his undefeated countryman Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs) in a ‘Battle of Britain’ at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London, United Kingdom.
Groves, the 29 year-old from Hammersmith, London, claimed the WBA strap with a sensational sixth-round stoppage victory over Fedor Chudinov on May 27th at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, and will make his maiden defence in this quarter-final clash with Cox, whom the ‘Saint’ selected as his first round opponent at the live Draft Gala on July 8th at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to getting started,’’ said Groves. ‘’It’s great to have a date set so early to give you something to strive for. I’m already in the gym plugging away and I’ve got plenty of time to prepare. The SSE Arena, Wembley Arena has always been a happy hunting ground for me. I‘ve had many good nights there, and I’m looking forward to fighting there again on October 14th. It’s my first World title defence, my first fight in the World Boxing Super Series, an all-British affair and hopefully something everyone is going to be excited about.
‘’I’m happy with my choice of opponent. I know there are no easy fights in this tournament and there are no easy fights at World level, but Jamie is the guy I know the most about. I know about his background, I know how he trains, I know who he trains with, but most importantly, I know the things you need in this tournament, such as composure and experience at the highest level, he’s lacking. I’ve got them in abundance, but he’s brand new, he’s a total novice. I don’t think he’s even headlined his own show yet and he’s getting flung in the deep end with me. This is a big pressure fight for him and I think he’ll struggle to cope.’’
Looking to secure his semi-final spot, Cox, the unbeaten 30 year-old contender from Swindon, Wiltshire, is confident he can dethrone his domestic rival and move a step closer to claiming The Greatest Prize in boxing, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
‘’I’m really excited for this fight,’’ said the 30 year-old southpaw. ‘’To win a World title on the way to fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy would be a huge honour. I’m glad George picked me. I was prepared for anyone but I was hoping for a UK fight so I can’t wait. George is a tough opponent. He has some good attributes but I’m prepared to shock everyone. This is what I’ve been working towards all my career, and to be a part of something this big is amazing. Now I’m here, I’m ready to capitalise on it and win my first World title and progress to the semi-finals.’’
Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa´s Head of Management Board, believes the World Boxing Super Series has delivered on its pledge of bringing together the best boxers in the world, and is expecting a memorable fight on October 14th. ‘’The World Boxing Super Series promised to pit the best against the best, and I believe we he have delivered on that promise,’’ said Dalmiglio. ‘’All our quarter-final fights are stacked with talent, and George Groves versus Jamie Cox is no exception. The SSE Arena, Wembley will play host to a fantastic night of boxing.”
Comosa`s Chief Boxing Officer, Kalle Sauerland is predicting a fan friendly affair from the domestic foes. ‘’This is a going to be a great fight for the fans,’’ said Sauerland. ‘’Domestic dust ups always bring with them an added excitement and intensity, and here, we have a British World Champion against an undefeated British challenger, it doesn’t get any better than that!’’
In the World Boxing Super Series, 16 elite fighters – eight super-middleweights and eight cruiserweights – will battle it out in a bracket-style elimination tournament. In both divisions, there will be four quarter-finals (September / October 2017), two semi-finals (early 2018) and one final (May 2018), making for a total of 14 high-class fights.
Ticket details for the World Boxing Super Series’ quarter-final bout between George Groves and Jamie Cox on October 14th at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London will be announced shortly.
WBC Champion Nikki Adler Hard at Work to Defend Her Belt Against Claressa Shields on ShoBox
German WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler is hard at work for her Friday, August 4 title defense against two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) will make the third defense of her WBC 168-pound title, and try to add the IBF Super Middleweight belt to her collection, against Flint, Michigan’s Shields (3-0, 1 KO) in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “BATTLE OF THE BEST” event at MGM Grand Detroit and Televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10;30 p.m. ET/PT)
In the night’s televised co-main, junior welterweight KO artist Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) will face undefeated prospect Sonny “Pretty Boi” Fredrickson (17-0, 11 KOs) over 10-rounds and to open the telecast, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (16-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) over eight rounds.
Tickets for the event promoted by Salita Promotions are on sale now and are priced at $350, $250, $125 and $60. They will be available at www.ticketmaster.com.
Adler says the only adjustment to fighting in the North America for the first time is to improve her English. And if she’s concerned about facing Shields, the only American to capture back-to-back boxing gold medals at the Olympic Games, she’s not showing it. She hasn’t even watched tape of Shields’ meteoric three-fight professional career. In fact, Adler and trainer Rene Friese are asking Americans not to take it personally when their hero falters against her.
How is training going?
It is going great! I work hard and I am very focused. My trainer is very satisfied with me and my progress. We entered training camp a few weeks ago, already had great tough sparring and I will be very well prepared to defend what’s mine: the green belt.
Did you prepare any differently for this fight compared to your others?
Yes, but it has nothing to do with Claressa. At the beginning of the year, I changed my trainer who brought me and my boxing skills to a new incredible level. I am better, faster and stronger. This feels amazing!
What do you think of Shields as a fighter?
To be honest, I’ve never watched her fight, but I am sure Claressa is a fighter from the bottom of her heart. So am I. This will create magic moments on August 4.
Does it make any difference to fight in North America for the first time?
Yes, because I need to improve my English. I speak German and Croatian fluently and will do my very best to thank Claressa personally for a great fight and to tell her without any translator that she can be proud that she took the challenge and one day she will be a champion too – maybe at middleweight.
What would a victory over Claressa Shields mean to you?
How do you feel about the recent resurgence of women’s boxing?
Our fight announcement rocked the media, the fans and lot of other boxers who want to be a part of the event. It is great to see and it will get better. But, just a warning, America needs to be strong when I take my belts back home to Germany. I said it once before and I will say it again and again: The higher the quality, the more attractive is the fight for the fans. The state of woman’s boxing needs tough woman like Claressa and me who are not afraid of a challenge.
How does it feel to be fighting on Showtime and in front of the world?
It is the biggest woman’s boxing fight in 2017. Winning is the only thing I’m concerned with.
What can the fans in Detroit and on television expect to see from you?
Fans will see a fit fighter, they can expect a tough puncher and, finally, a dominating reigning champion.
Showtime Sports to Present Three Seperate Live Boxing Presentations on July 29th
SHOWTIME Sports will offer three separate boxing presentations on Saturday, July 29, delivering two digital live streams preceding the evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING televised doubleheader. The digital-only offerings will be available on Facebook Live and YouTube prior to the live SHOWTIME® telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, as the network continues its unrivaled commitment to boxing.
The full day of high-stakes boxing will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with streaming coverage from Belfast, Ireland as 2016 Fighter of the Year Carl Frampton makes his long-awaited homecoming. The former two-division titlist Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) will face once-beaten Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) in a 12-round featherweight bout, his first since splitting a par of slugfests with three-division world titlist Leo Santa Cruz. Coverage of Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be provided by Channel 5, a television station in Northern Ireland.
SHOWTIME Sports will then deliver live coverage from Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT with “SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims”. The two-fight live stream will feature former world title challenger Gerald Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) against Brooklyn native Jarrell Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs), plus the U.S. debut of female boxing star and Irish Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs). Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins will call the live streaming fights from Brooklyn alongside former world champion Daniel Jacobs.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims and Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be available to U.S. audiences only.
The July 29 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by a blockbuster matchup between two of boxing’s biggest stars as three-division world champion Mikey Garcia moves up to 140 pounds to face four-division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Televised coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT as unbeaten former world champion Jermall Charlo returns to face Jorge Sebastian Heiland in a middleweight world title eliminator. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims is an extension of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME, which is the first premium television series to offer live undercard coverage. Both offerings provide bonus bouts to viewers at home, delivering an experience that was previously available only to fans in arena. Via SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims, viewers are afforded the unique opportunity to interact with the boxing community during the event in real time.
SHOWTIME Sports also will live stream the Broner vs. Garcia final press conference on Thursday and the official weigh-in on Friday across digital platforms, including Facebook Live and YouTube.
By: Thomas Nicholls
As the British Boxing scene continues to grow from strength to strength, this new weekly feature will highlight all the news, views and fight previews from the Great British circuit. Enjoy!
On Saturday night, the enigmatic Chris Eubank Jr defended his IBO Super-Middleweight crown against German veteran “King” Arthur Abraham at the SSE Arena in London. Many had foreseen the outcome of the fight as the cocky, charismatic Eubank dominated his way to a landslide points decision as the weary Abraham had no answer for the Brit’s speed and punch volume.
In victory, Eubank (27) has now confirmed his place in the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series otherwise known as the “Muhammad Ali Trophy”, a mouth-watering eight-man tournament starring some of the main players in the 168lbs division. As third seed, Eubank will have home advantage against unbeaten Turkish prospect Avni Yildirim. Eubank is one of four Britons who will feature in the tournament, alongside Jamie Cox, WBA Super Champion George Groves and pre-tournament favourite, Callum Smith.
Muhammad Ali Trophy Quarter Finals –
George Groves (GB) vs Jamie Cox (GB)
Chris Eubank Jr (GB) vs Avni Yildirim (TUR)
Callum Smith (GB) vs Erik Skoglund (SWE)
Jurgen Braemer (GER) vs Rob Brant (USA)
Elsewhere in the UK, WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders is set to defend his crown against American southpaw, Willie Monroe Jr. Monroe Jr is in the process of resurrecting his career after a defeat to GGG back in May 2015. In the press conference on Monday, Saunders hailed Monroe a “quitter” in reference to his evident surrender against the hard-hitting Kazakh, Golovkin.
Billy Joe Saunders has been concerningly inactive since he was crowned champion in 2015, his solitary defence coming in an unconvincing display against unknown Russian, Artur Akavov. Saunders has frequently vowed to unify the division and promoter Frank Warren has twice come close to finalising a fight with either GGG or Canelo, but Billy Joe’s repeated injury setbacks have for now scuppered those plans. London’s CopperBox arena will play host to the fight with Monroe on September 16.
September is due to be a busy month for Britain’s fighters as the Heavyweight clash between Hughie Fury and Joseph Parker is now back on after a cancellation earlier in year. Originally, the fight was due to take place in New Zealand, but the Manchester Arena is the new venue for the Heavyweight showdown.
Hughie, cousin of Tyson, is a slick point scoring fighter who possesses an impressive 20-0 record at just 22 years old. WBO Champion, Parker will enter the fight as favourite, but the Fury camp are certainly no strangers to the underdog status and they will take courage from Parker’s most recent bout as he failed to topple the uninspiring Romanian, Razvan Cojanu.
Manchester based Hughie has this week claimed that he, for the first time in his career, feels at full fitness. Plagued by health issues throughout his teens, Fury is looking and feeling healthier and is convinced it’s his time to make his mark on the Heavyweight scene and bring the WBO strap back in to the Fury family. “It doesn’t matter where I fight Parker in the world, I know my ability and what I’m capable of achieving and I know I can win the world title.”I don’t like to count my chickens, but the obvious incentive to beat Parker is the big fights out there like a unification against Joshua or Wilder.
“This is what boxing is all about, the best should fight the best and the best fighter will come out on top.”
“Tyson will be coming back and he’ll be out to reclaim his position, we’ll never fight each other, but we’ll rule the division together.”
Meanwhile, we still await confirmation of Wladimir Klitschko triggering his rematch clause with Anthony Joshua, but Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom staff were in Vegas last week looking at potential venues for the fight. Let’s hope we have an announcement in the coming weeks!
Can This Year’s Boxing Get Any More Exciting?
By: Iftisaam Khan
Looking ahead to an enthralling schedule this year sees the busy boxing calendar kick off with James Degale taking on Badou Jack in an exciting encounter on January 14th at the Barclay’s Centre. Having suffered one loss in his career to bitter rival, George Groves, his career looks now to be on track after impressive victories against Lucien Bute, Andre Dirrell and Rogelio Medina.
With a chance to unify the division with victory over the 33-year-old American, Degale certainly can’t afford to underestimate his foe who’s been making a big statement in the boxing world recently having overcame George Groves and Andre Dirrell to attain a world title. A close fight can be expected between the pair, don’t be surprised to see a controversial decision in this one.
Moving onto a couple weeks later sees the Rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on January 28th. Santa Cruz will be hoping to turn the deficit around this time as the previous outing was something not up to the usual standard of the 28-year-old Mexican.
Going into the fight you can expect the two-weight world champion, Frampton to be full of confidence but don’t write off Santa Cruz totally he wasn’t the former three weight world champion for nothing.
If you want to see bitter rivalry in sport look no further. Come March 4th sees David Haye and Tony Bellew lock horns in a real grudge match at the O2 Arena. The war of words doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon with outbursts coming from both camps on social media adding fuel to an already exciting night of boxing. Haye will be the firm favourite going into the bout, but if Bellew manages to pull this one off its one for the history books that’s for sure.
Heading onto one of the main events of the year sees Heavyweight sensation, Anthony Joshua clash with veteran Wladmir Klitschko in one of the biggest heavyweight fights of recent years on April 29th at Wembley stadium. With 90,000 expected AJ will be looking to demonstrate to the whole world why he’s been touted for special things in the future as he looks to carry on his blistering form (18-0-18 KO). Although many are already writing off Klitschko’s chances the former IBF, WBO and WBA champion will be no easy opponent. Having had plenty of time to recuperate, his mind will be fully focused on reclaiming his titles which sets it all up for an amazing spectacle.
Given it was one of last year’s best fights, fight fans could be in on another treat sooner or later. In a classic ‘dogfight’ both fighter’s- Chisora and Whyte left heart and soul in the ring as they slugged it out for 12 rounds non-stop providing entertainment throughout. Ending with controversial split decision fight fans are desperate to see the pair trade gloves again- only time will tell.
Brook and Khan is a fight on many people’ lips. Will it happen? It’s the closest the fight has ever been to coming to an agreement but still no confirmation just yet. Its Potentially one of the biggest fights in the UK of recent years with both fighters looking to establish themselves as the best Welterweight in the country. Having mixed it in the ring with GGG taking him to 5th round, ‘Special K’ will be full of confidence after his heroic display despite falling short. Also, coming off a loss is Amir Khan who got brutally knocked out by Canelo but he will look to put that all behind him as he next steps in the ring later this year.
With all these super fights this year there won’t be a moment you can afford to miss- I certainly won’t be.