KALLE SAUERLAND today told Boxing News that Chris Eubank Jr is in the running to replace George Groves in the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series final against Callum Smith, but no final decision had been made. What is certain, though, is that Sauerland won’t wait indefinitely for Groves to recover from his shoulder injury.
Groves defeated Eubank Jr in March yet dislocated his shoulder in the final round of their semi-final. Groves – who has been promoted by Sauerland Events for several years – has since been racing to get fit. June 2 was the proposed date for the final, but that has since been postponed as the promoters give Groves time to return to fighting shape.
“We’re working on solutions where Groves is fit, and where Groves is not fit,” Kalle told Boxing News. “We’re not going to postpone finals months because it goes against the whole principal of it. I’ve been there and done it, with the Super Six, so people can tell me what they like about finals.
“The tournament is bigger than any fighter, and that’s just the way it is. We’re hopeful [Groves will be fit], so we’ll see.
“What I don’t understand is people presuming we’re ‘booting Groves out’ of the tournament. We go back a long way and we’ll do what we can for him. At the end of the day, if you’ve put a sh*t load of money into a concept like this, you can’t turn around and say we’ll wait forever. You can’t start the tournament and then have the final lingering into the next tournament. I’m sorry, that’s not going to happen. We have to make this a success through independent decision making.”
Eubank, then, is very much in the running to take George Groves’ place?
“Absolutely, yes. A lucky loser. It’s a common sporting term. Would I want to watch Callum Smith-Eubank Jr outside of the tournament? Absolutely. It’s a great fight.
“We can push a month, but we can’t push it back by three or four months. We have a substitute system. We said that from day one, and that’s the situation. We’re still hoping it’s George Groves, of course we are.
“I always said the tournament doesn’t stop for anyone and we’ve almost gone against that already. We had a June 2 date and venue booked for the final, and we’re already going later than that. As a promoter you have to rule out August, so the final will happen in July. But at the moment, it’s not clear.”
Sauerland added that a fighter who had not been involved from the start would not be brought into the final, but admitted that Eubank Jnr is the first choice to replace Groves should the WBA champion not declare himself fit within the next 10 days.
“I think he would [be the first choice]. You’d have that UK feel which I like, and the super-middleweights have always been driven by the UK. We want Groves in the final, but if that’s not possible, we have to find a solution.”