CALLUM SMITH’S trainer Joe Gallagher admitted frustration that there’s still no official date or venue for the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series final, but defended the promoters of the tournament.
On social media yesterday (July 22) there was further confirmation George Groves and Callum Smith will fight in the World Boxing Super Series in September, however but still no date or venue was announced.
The ‘confirmation’ there would be later confirmation adds to the already confusing state the WBSS super-middleweight final finds itself in.
With fans still not knowing an exact date of the final, one man who is just as much in the dark as everybody else is Gallagher.
“I was boarding the plane back from America when I had seen the news, and a few journalists has asked what Kalle [Sauerland] had told me and I said we still don’t know,” the trainer said. “I did a few interviews in America and I was asked about any ideas on the date for Callum Smith-Groves.
“I said there had been loads of announcements – the World Boxing Super Series two, the weight divisions, the draws, Usyk fight, and we came away still not knowing the date or venue for the super-middleweight final, although it’s been confirmed for September, we’re still not sure when or where.”
Groves and Smith both booked their place in the WBSS final in February, five months ago, however, after Groves suffered a shoulder injury in the final round of his semi-final win over Chris Eubank Jnr, the date for the final round has been a guessing game ever since.
And although Gallagher cited the waiting game hasn’t affected himself or his fighter mentally, he did admit the stall in proceedings is a frustration in the development of Smith’s career.
“I wouldn’t say it’s affected us,” Gallagher said. “For Callum we went into this to win it and kickstart his career again and become an active fighter.
“If you look at this year he’s had one, last year he only had one, so hopefully we can get this World Boxing Super Series final out the way and get Callum Smith out regularly and often as, he seems to have fallen off the radar.”
The other half of the final, WBA world champion Groves, took aim at the organisers of the WBSS on Twitter, as he questioned whether a date will ever be announced.
“I think for George, like us, he’s itching to go,” Gallagher said assessing the champion’s tweet.
“What both lads want to do is just be in a press conference room, with the media, with a date and venue and then just go away and know where they are in training.
“These kids [Groves and Smith] want to do a 10 week camp, start arranging sparring partners, when they have to bring them in, and that’s the frustrating part. We’re in no man’s land.
“They’re both ticking over, I’m sure George is doing work with Shane [McGuigan] the same way Callum and I are out in America, but it’s about working out the training programme, not peaking too early or leaving it in the gym.”
Yet another talking point heading into the final is where the fight will be staged, the logical thinking would lead you to assume a UK fight, held maybe somewhere between Groves’ London base and Smith’s northern camp.
However, suggestions of a foreign affair between the two Brits have surfaced, and although Gallagher understands fans may be hard done by if true, the trainer believes at this drawn out stage the destination is the least of the finalists’ worries.
“I think for the fans point of view it would be [a disappointment if the fight isn’t in the UK],” he said. “Groves and Eubank Jnr was a good fight in a sold out, packed out arena, but at this stage now I think George Groves and Callum Smith don’t care where it is, it could be on the moon – they just want the fight and want to get it on.
“I’ve heard like everyone else it could be Saudi Arabia, Las Vegas, Birmingham, there’s a number of options there.”
Despite the frustration and criticism the tournament has or may receive during the latter stages proceedings, Gallagher was quick to praise the already successful and fan friendly tournament.
“It’s frustrating but let’s look at the World Boxing Super Series on the whole,” he said. “It’s brought some great fights, we had a great final on the weekend, and the draw of the season two there’s some potential great fights there.
“So I just think the only Achilles heel the tournament has had has been injuries that has put fights back but they’re willing to do what everyone wants.
“They were getting criticism if the final was made with Eubank not Groves, so they listened to everyone and gave both fighters the chance to be fit to fight in the final, so we can’t be too critical. They’re giving the fans what they want.”