Two Englishman will battle it out in Saudi Arabia in the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
Friday night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia sees the culmination of the World Boxing Super Series, with “Saint” George Groves taking on Callum “Mundo” Smith. On the line is Groves’ WBA strap and the WBSS Muhammed Ali trophy. Both fighters come into the bout on a run of good form and are arguably the two best Super Middles in the world.
The bookies favour George Groves, who goes into the fight as odds on favourite (8/11) while Smith is priced at slightly longer 11/8. Groves’ experience and recent wins do give him the edge, he’s beaten Eubank Jr, Jamie Cox, Fedor Chudinov and Martin Murray, among others, since his world title bout loss to Badou Jack. That is a serious run of form against strong opposition. Furthermore, Groves has looked convincing, strong and sharp in all those wins, suggesting he’s settled and working well with trainer Shane McGuigan. In the other corner, Callum Smith has only had to get past Nieky Holzken (14 wins, 1 loss) and Erik Skoglund in his last two fights to make it to the final. To this day, Smith’s first round destruction of Rocky Fielding back in 2015, still looks like the best name on his ledger and taking on Groves is certainly a step up for the Liverpudlian. On experience alone, you have to favour Groves.
On top of Groves’ experience, he’s also a nightmare to fight for anyone. He has a superb jab that he holds low and flicks out at different tempos and speed, making it hard to read. He also hits hard with both hands and has smart feet. In terms of pure boxing ability Groves looks the more accomplished. Smith’s style is a bit more basic, he holds a high guard and often remains in range and trades punches with his opponent, backing himself to be too strong and powerful for his opponent. So far that has worked, but he’s looked less convincing in recent times, with both Erik Skoglund and Nieky Holzken having their moments against him in the earlier rounds of this WBSS championship.
Groves did dislocate his left shoulder against Eubank Jr semi-final, so if that has any long term affects then his most accomplished weapon could be seriously diminished for this bout. However, he’s had plenty of time to get it right and all the noises from his camp are that the surgery and recovery have gone immaculately. If so, I expect Groves to use his jab and movement to frustrate Smith, particularly looking to the body. Smith, whilst untested at highest level, seems tough and has a guard that makes him difficult to break down, therefore a unanimous decision victory for Groves looks good (13/5 with Betway). If those odds don’t tickle your fancy, then a late stoppage in favour of Groves, after breaking Smith down, could be a nice longer bet (Groves round 9-12 is 9/1 with Sky Bet).