Chris Eubank Jr. on standby to replace George Groves, face Callum Smith
The World Boxing Super Series organisers were forced to announced their Season 2 intentions this week despite the fact the first round of tournaments are yet to be completed.
As bantamweight took center stage, the super-middleweight and cruiserweight finales from the start of the inaugural season last year are still hanging in the balance.
Originally due to be completed in the coming days, the 200-pound showpiece between Oleksander Usyk and Murat Gassiev, a fight that will feature FOUR cruiserweight belts, is still yet to find a home.
Add to that the all-British 168-pound collision featuring George Groves and Callum Smith for the Ali Trophy, and Comosa AG have been forced to begin backing up the competitions.
Groves is still recovering from an injury suffered in his semi-final win over Chris Eubank Jr. – with rumors already swirling that the Londoner is either ready to pull out or won’t be fit to participate.
Whatever the outcome, Smith is left in limbo, and Eubank Jr. looks set to be handed a lifeline for the World Boxing Council Diamond championship in June or July.
CHRIS EUBANK JR
As ‘The Saint’ rushes against the clock, Eubank Jr. gaining an undeserved spot hasn’t gone down well with the fans on social media.
Should confirmation come from Sauerland about Eubank’s inclusion at Groves’s expense, a backlash could be forthcoming that won’t help the format’s integrity.
Zolani Tete, Ryan Burnett, and Manny Rodriguez, plus potentially the winner of Naoya Inoue v Jamie McDonnell, have already made plenty of tongues wag about the next round of fights.
Securing three (or four) world champions for the forthcoming 118-pound version has seemingly softened the blow. However, there’s no doubt the British contingent wants all steps taken to ensure Groves is allowed to take his place opposite ‘Mundo’ and bring his WBA belt into the bargain.
An official ruling is due next week as the WBSS prepares to settle dates and venues for the Season 1 finals – along with adding two more divisions to Season 2 – making the competition bigger and better than ever.
But let’s hope injuries will allow a smoother run for the WBSS over the next twelve months.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay