Exclusive: Groves v Eubank Jr. – What happens if either pulls out of WBSS semi-final?
The United Kingdom is preparing for one of the highest-profile all British fights of recent years as world super-middleweight champions Chris Eubank Jr. and George Groves get set for battle in early 2018.
Both won their respective World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) Quarter-Final match-ups in some style against Avni Yildirim and Jamie Cox in October to advance to what is sure to be one of the top encounters of next year.
The two-belt clash is already pencilled in for January or February, according to promoter Kalle Sauerland, who was licking his lips at the prospect of Eubank Jr. v Groves in the immediate aftermath of the bout being confirmed.
“In Britain, it’s the fight I think everyone wanted,” Kalle pointed out to Gabriel Clarke of ITV Box Office on the night of Groves’ victory over Cox.
“It’s the super fight, it’s a mega fight. You call it what you want but it’s going to be explosive. The build-up is going to be huge and were going to find the right platform to do it.
“It will be January / February and it will be in Britain. I’m not going to say if it’s indoors or outdoors, but it will be somewhere big,” he added.
All is good and well provided Eubank and Groves make it to the ring for their eagerly-anticipated match-up, but WBN asked Kalle what would happen if either fighter was to pull out of the contest through injury.
The WBSS have a reserve system in place, which featured on the undercard in London when John Ryder blasted out Patrick Nielsen in a career-best performance. Although Kalle pointed out ‘The Gorilla’ would not necessarily step in as a straight replacement for either Eubank or Groves should they be forced to withdraw.
“I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, so John Ryder would not be reserve for that fight. The reserve fight is for the event only (Groves v Cox). There will be a new reserve confirmed for the semi-final. Ryder’s win does not mean he’s next in line,” Kalle exclusively told World Boxing News.
“The rules are straightforward as each event will have a reserve fighter, and in London, that was Patrick Nielsen on this occasion.
“Nielsen was set to fight on the event as this is to ensure that the event will take place – even if there is a pull out on the day (so Nielsen would have stepped in for either Groves or Cox).
“In this case, the reserve fighters sign a one-off agreement to fight and agree to be ready to enter the tournament if needed. That agreement is just for that event only,” he clarified.
As Sauerland mulls over which fighter could be secured as a reserve for what will be a mammoth event in the UK, WBN then asked whether the championships in possession of Eubank and Groves would still be retained in the tournament if they did have to give up their place.
“It all depends on the situation and would be something we look at when the matter arises,” added Sauerland.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay