Liverpool’s Callum Smith promised the performance of a lifetime tonight for his sister, Holly, who inspires him on a daily basis as she continues to battle with autism. He delivered on his promise and then some with a career defining victory over West London’s Saint — George Groves.
The King Abdullah Sports Arena played host to today’s World Boxing Super Series Super Middleweight final between Smith and Groves in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which had multiple titles and the distinction of being the inaugural Super Middleweight Muhammad Ali Trophy winner on the line.
Smith, the #2 seed in the tournament, came equipped with his WBC Super Middleweight title opposite Groves, the WBA Super Middleweight Champion.
The vacant Ring Magazine Super Middleweight title was also on the line and the winner of this contest would join Oleksander Usyk as just the second man to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy during the World Boxing Super Series. Usyk topped Murat Gassiev in the finals of their tournament this past Summer to earn the Cruiserweight Ali Trophy.
Tonight’s main event began with a feeling out process as expected when you’re dealing with two men competing at this level of combat. Smith kept a good guard early while Groves was a bit more loose. Left jabs were traded as both men tried to find their respective range but the major strike of the round would be a right hand from Smith, who showed off his reach advantage early. The Liverpool native ended the round strong but you could’ve also argued the round for Groves who was just a smidge busier.
Smith would rock Groves with a clean right in the middle of the third that had the champ on roller skates for a quick second. He would follow it up, sensing the finish, but would back off after Groves returned some heavy fire. A similar situation would come in the 7th.
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It all began with a left hook from Smith to counter the right of Groves. This one was a beauty, landing clean on the jaw of Groves, causing him to stumble back as the lights flickered inside of his dome. Smith would sense the end here, adding on a crippling right to the body, a steady diet of right power shots and an uppercut before a few more death blows to seal the deal. Groves would later admit embarrassment to body shot that followed the left on the jaw, citing that he had never been hurt by a body shot before.
Following the contest, we saw the coronation of one of boxing next major British superstar in Smith, who showed great charisma with the Ali trophy in tow and his body covered in hardware.
“I waited this long for one chance, if I don’t take it, will another one come,” Smith said, expressing how important defeating Groves to claim his new number one status on this night in Jeddah truly was.
Given the opportunity to make excuses in his post-fight interview, Groves refused. Just months removed from suffering a dislocated shoulder in the 12th round of his bout against Chris Eubank Jr., Groves said that everything was working just fine on the night, it was simply a case of the better man coming out on top.
Groves also stated that he will not be hanging up his gloves just yet but will indeed be taking some time to have a good rest.
Final Result: Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) defeats George Groves (28-4, 20 KOs) via KO – Round 7, 2:04
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