George Groves will wait for WBC super middleweight title shot
British super middleweight contender George Groves insists he is prepared to wait for his mandatory WBC title shot rather than face long-time domestic rival James DeGale for the vacant IBF belt.
Earlier this month Groves rejected a 50-50 offer from Matchroom to meet DeGale, whom he beat in May 2011, arguing that he deserves the bigger cut second time round because he is the bigger attraction in the UK.
And it appears the 26 year old from Hammersmith, west London, will not be budging from that position despite the fact the WBC has since granted its titleholder Anthony Dirrell a four-month extension for a voluntary defense, meaning Groves is effectively out of the picture.
Groves (21-2, 16 knockouts) and promoters Team Sauerland are currently demanding to know why the organization has come to that decision. But whatever the answers to their inquiry, Groves-DeGale II, for the IBF title vacated by their English compatriot Carl Froch, will not be happening any time soon.
“We were shocked to hear that he had got the four-month extension in making his mandatory defense, I’m still figuring it out and it’s not cut and dry,” said THE RING’s No. 3-rated super middleweight in an interview with ESPN. “There’s some stuff that needs to be explained a bit better, so my promoters are talking to the WBC. I don’t think it’s fair on me and I want some answers.
“April 25 is the date that Eddie Hearn pitched to my promoters Kalle and Nisse Sauerland (for DeGale bout). I’m not going to be held to ransom though. I’m not prepared to walk away from the WBC shot, after putting in all that hard work to get it, for an offer I’m not happy about. I would rather wait for the WBC fight. I will box James any day of the week but right now they are talking about a 50-50 split.
“They can only get away with that because of Eddie Hearn’s popularity and his position at Sky Sports. James has no commercial marketability unless he fights me. I boxed in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium last year but James has been fighting at leisure centres and shopping centres.”
As things stand, Dirrell’s WBC defense is likely to be in America and not against Groves. Meanwhile, DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs), the IBF mandatory challenger, is still aiming for an April 25 title showdown against Andre Dirrell – Anthony’s older brother – at the London O2 Arena.
Groves, though, will be keeping busy. He told Sky Sports he expects to have a non-title bout in April.
“We’ve got an April fight in mind because I don’t want to get caught off guard – in fact I’ve been bashing up southpaws this week,” he said.
Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt