EXCLUSIVE: Barry McGuigan discusses WBSS final delay, gives prediction for Groves v Smith

Joe Hewlett 04/06/2018
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Question marks over the WBSS have been answered after Kalle Sauerland confirmed the super-middleweight finale will feature number one and two seeds respectively, George Groves (28-3) and Callum Smith (24-0).

The WBA ‘Super’ world champion – who defeated Chris Eubank Jr in the semi-final – dislocated his shoulder in the bout and was left sweating over a place in the money-spinning tournament.

The contest was set to take place on July 2. However, Groves has been given sufficient time to recover and will have the chance to win the Muhammed Ali inaugural tournament with the match-up expected to be scheduled for September.

Boxing legend Barry McGuigan, whose son Shane trains Groves, is relieved the WBSS have taken everything into consideration and believes the right decision has been made.

“You have to understand where the WBSS are coming from, they’re trying to keep the momentum going and you must appreciate that if guys are injured so they can’t postpone the fight indefinitely, but it would have been really bad had Groves not been in the final as he has been the outstanding talent throughout the tournament,” McGuigan exclusively told World Boxing News.

“A number of other guys were injured which may not have been highlighted but both in the cruiserweight and I heard Smith had also got injured, so it worked out for the best.

“George is a competent pro, he’s one of most competent professionals I’ve ever seen as far as his commitment to training and getting into shape.

“He’s a lovely young man, I don’t manage him, I don’t promote him, but I see him in the gym every day and he is a real treat to be around. He’s so generous to all the other kids, they just look around and admire him – he’s a great role model.

“It’ll obviously take time for his shoulder to heal properly but thankfully they’ve gave him enough time to recover and I can’t reiterate that.”

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Photo: World Boxing Super Series

With Shane playing a pivotal role in reviving Groves, McGuigan is backing the 30-year-old to win an eighth consecutive victory since his split-decision loss to Badou Jack and overcome Smith.

“Groves wins and it depends on how it ends,” predicted McGuigan.

“I really like Callum, I always thought he’d be the one to fight George in the final, but Groves has got too much in his locker. He could beat him on points but has a strong chance of getting out there in the later stages of the fight.

“My son gets embarrassed when I talk about him, but he is doing a good job. It has to work on both sides, they’ve got a fantastic friendship and relationship.

“You’ve seen the difference, Shane hasn’t changed his USP, he’s just added qualities to his game. He hits the body as well as he hits the head and the two of them working together has helped him gain the confidence to win fights.

“George is into his 30’s now and is getting better and better,” he added.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95