Callum Smith admits that facing George Groves for the Londoner’s world title was a “big reason” why he entered the World Boxing Super Series.
After an anxious wait, Groves – who dislocated his shoulder in his semi-final victory over Chris Eubank Jr in February – was medically cleared to face Smith in the final of the tournament yesterday.
The No. 1 and No. 2 super-middleweight seeds will finally meet in late August or early September as the battle for the inaugural Muhammad Ali trophy reaches its climax.
Liverpool’s Smith, unbeaten in 24 outings, concedes that it’s been a frustrating period as he’s awaited confirmation but is now delighted that WBA ‘Super’ champion Groves will be his opponent.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, ‘Mundo’ said: “I’m very happy he’s been medically cleared, I’ve made no secret that it’s the fight I want and the one I’ve wanted for a long time.
“George Groves and his world title are two big reasons why I entered this tournament, to beat him and become a world champion.
“He was the champion coming into the tournament and although if he had lost I would have still fought for a world title, Groves was the No. 1 seed, so beating him is better for me all round.
“I believe he’s the best super-middleweight in the world so it’s not just a dream to become a world champion but to be the best in the division.
“Late August or early September are the scheduled dates so I can get in camp and prepare for around then. The fact it is Groves is enough for me, whether it’s next month or in five months’ time, I don’t care – I just want to beat Groves and win the world title.
Back in February, Smith said how he was happy to wait for George Groves to recover and feature in the final
“It’s the final the public wanted and, more importantly, the one that I want.”
Smith is expecting an “explosive, all-action” affair when the pair meet and is sure that Groves will be at his very best.
“This is the biggest fight of my career,” the Liverpudlian continued.
“It’s a massive test and Groves will be, by far, the best fighter I’ve faced but I’ve always said that the better the opposition, the better I will perform.
“I need a big performance and that’s what I’ll deliver. I have a lot of respect for Groves, he’s a great, dangerous, fighter and has achieved so much in the game. He’s been there and done it, but I’m confident I have the style to beat him.
“I’m expecting an explosive fight, Groves is a big puncher but he’s also vulnerable.
“I’m preparing for the very best George Groves. If he wasn’t 100% then he wouldn’t fight, he’s the world champ and has it all to lose so he must be healing well and getting back to his best.”