Feature | Aug 02 2018

George Groves’ concern going into World Boxing Super Series final against Callum Smith

The biggest worry for George Groves isn't the shoulder he dislocated or even going to Jeddah, it's the possibility of having to fight outdoors in the desert heat, writes John Dennen
George Groves
George Groves & Jamie Cox Press Conference  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

GEORGE GROVES’ biggest concern about his World Boxing Super Series final with Callum Smith isn’t so much having to travel to Saudi Arabia, or even nurse the shoulder he injured in his semi-final against Chris Eubank Jnr. It’s the possibility of having to fight in an open air stadium on September 28 in spite of the desert heat.

“It’s a big Olympic Stadium but there are indoor arenas attached apparently,” Groves, the WBA super-middleweight champion, said of the venue in Jeddah. “I can’t imagine they are looking at selling 70,000 tickets for this fight and doing it outside so it’s most likely that it will be an indoor arena with some air con. Otherwise, it’s no longer a fight is it? It’s something else. It’s an endurance challenge to see who wants it most.”

Both fighters are English, will be training in England and won’t travel to the Middle East until the week of the fight. Air conditioning therefore would preferable. “Neither of us would appreciate fighting outdoors in that heat and humidity but who knows? I’m pretty sure they’re sensible,” Groves said.