(November 7th) WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders predicts George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) to beat Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) in their Ali Trophy semi-final in the super middleweight division of the World Boxing Super Series.
“I think George Groves could win it,” said Billy Joe Saunders in an interview with Behind The Gloves.
Saunders defeated Eubank Jr. via split decision in a fight for the British middleweight title in 2014; two judges had scores of 115–114 and 115–113 for Saunders, with the third judge scoring 116–113 for Eubank Jr. The first and only loss in Eubank Jr.’s career.
Saunders reminds Groves that when you are up against Chris Eubank Jr. you are also up against Chris Eubank Sr., the former two-weight world champion, and British boxing icon.
“If you get caught up in the hype of the Eubanks, that they are great and you are a nobody and you are not on their level … that can affect you. But I didn’t get caught up in all that.”
“I did what Eubank Jr. tries to do to people. I got in his head. Boxing is a big mind game and the Eubanks are good at mind games, but if George Groves can block that side out and concentrate, he can win,” said Saunders not ruling out a chance for Eubank Jr. to reach the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
“Groves is an extremely good fighter and an extremely good boxer. Eubank Jr. is an extremely good fighter, but he can’t handle a boxer. So if you can box him, you will win. If George goes in there and is careless, he will get beaten.”
Fight date and venue for Groves vs Eubank Jr will be announced in the coming weeks, with tickets going on sale later this month. Fans are asked to sign-up for ticket alerts at worldboxingsuperseries.com to avoid disappointment.
(October 14th) WBA super champion George Groves defeated fellow countryman Jamie Cox in the Ali Trophy quarter-final with a fourth-round knockout and paved the way for a British superfight semi-final with Chris Eubank Jr.
“We have an opportunity to put on a mega fight. I can’t wait, it’s going to be epic!” said Eubank Jr. after facing off with Groves.
Groves ended Cox’s unbeaten record Saturday night as he delivered a stunning right hook body shot to floor Cox.
“I was landing big body shots on Jamie, in the end, it was a right hook to the body, it’s a crippling shot – I don’t blame him for not getting up,” said Groves now looking forward to fighting Eubank Jr.
“It’s going to be a great fight. Eubank has always been all-action. He has improved over the years but he hasn’t boxed anyone on my level. I know if I boxed like I did tonight, he doesn’t stand a chance.”
Cox worked furiously and fought with intensity from the first bell, but in the end, he could not handle Groves’ greater power.
“He placed the shot greatly and he’s a very good champion. He prepared well, I made a mistake and he made me pay. It was a great fight until then,” said Cox.
“It was an honour being a part of this great tournament.”
(October 8th) The 28-year-old Brit faces an Ali Trophy semi-final against WBA Super Champion George Groves or Jamie Cox, who meet at The SSE Arena, Wembley on October 14.
“I am not in the World Boxing Super Series to just participate,” said Chris Eubank Jr. after his superior victory, which showed that he must be named as one of the favourites to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the super-middleweight division.
“I’m here to dominate. I’m sending a message out there that I’m coming. George Groves, get through your next fight so we can give the boxing fans what they want to see.”
“Yildirim was a strong come-forward fighter as I expected. But the experience is not there for him yet. He was 16-0 but he has to work technically on his abilities to compete with a fighter like me.”
Eubank Jr. knocked out Turkish Avni Yildirim in the third round with a devastating left hook to retain his IBO super-middleweight title.
He dominated from the first bell and had his two years younger opponent on the canvas already in the first round with an upper-cut.
Yildirim was disappointed with his performance in front of thousands of his fans at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart
“I am thankful for my fans. Today was not my day, but I will come back,” said Yildirim.
(September 18th) Callum Smith beat Erik Skoglund by a unanimous decision to win a tough Ali Trophy quarter-final in front of his home crowd in Liverpool.
The officials scored the entertaining and competitive fight 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111 all in favour of Liverpudlian.
“I went 12 rounds with a very good fighter. I knew it was going to be a tough fight, and I had to think to win it.”
Now unbeaten in 23 bouts, Smith claimed WBC’s Super Middleweight Diamond title and
is the first semi-finalist in the super middleweight division of the World Boxing Super Series.
Despite conceiving a bloodied nose in the fifth round, Smith knocked the previously undefeated Swede down in the 11th with a big left hook which helped swinging the fight the local hero’s way.
“I’m in this tournament to win it. I’ll have a few weeks off and then get back in the gym and keep improving. My job is to improve and become a better fighter,” said Smith.
“I hope Callum brings home the Ali Trophy, and hopefully I can get a rematch,” said Skoglund. “I’m looking forward to coming back stronger in the future.”
Smith will next face the winner of the fight between Germany’s Juergen Braehmer and American Rob Brant, who meet on October 27 in Schwerin, Germany.
Braehmer and Brant
Ready for Ali Throphy Clash!
(September 16th) Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) and Robert Brant (22-0, 15 KOs) meet in the ring on Friday October 27 when the World Boxing Super Series’ super middleweight division and the quest for the Ali Trophy illuminate the Kongresshalle in Schwerin, Germany.
“I am very glad the World Boxing Super Series can announce a date and venue for my quarter-final against Rob Brant,” said 38 year-old Braehmer.
The former WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight Champion is looking forward to fighting in his habitat in Germany.
“I am very excited that this bout is going to take place in my hometown of Schwerin. In short: I cannot wait to start my journey to win the Ali Trophy!”
Brant from Minnesota, however, is looking forward to passing through historic Schwerin, famous for its beautiful Old Town and romantic Schwerin Palace, on his promising career path.
“Braehmer is a well accomplished and proven boxer worldwide with star power in his home country,” said 26 year-old Brant. “I have no problem going to his backyard for a fight; he is a seeded athlete in the tournament.”
“I feel this is a pure crossroads fight containing a proven well-known fighter toward the end of his career against a hot prospect looking to make his name in the sport. I feel confident in winning this fight as does everyone in my training circle. After researching Schwerin I am excited to compete in such a beautiful and historic city!”
The winner of Juergen Braehmer vs. Robert Brant will face the winner of Callum Smith vs. Erik Skoglund.
Tickets forBraehmer vs Brant go on sale on Monday via Eventim.de.
(September 14th) Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) has invited countryman Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be ringside for his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final clash with Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
‘’Zlatan is a huge star in Sweden and a big inspiration for me, proving everything is possible,’’ said Skoglund. ‘’He has shown that someone from a relatively small country like Sweden can make it all the way to the top. He has conquered the world in football, and that is what I want to do in boxing. I know my team has invited him to come to the fight, and it would be an honour to have him ringside supporting me.’’
Ibrahimovic, one of football’s most colourful characters, took the English Premier League by storm last season, scoring 17 goals in 28 appearances and proving monumental in Manchester United’s successful Europa League and League Cup campaigns.
Skoglund hopes to enjoy similar success in England on Saturday when he faces Liverpool’s undefeated hometown hero Smith for the WBC World Diamond title and a place in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final.
‘’I’m looking forward to fighting in Liverpool,’’ he said. ‘’I’ve been fighting a lot lately in my hometown with all the pressure and expectations that come with that. In this fight, I’m the away fighter so all the pressure lies with Callum Smith and I can just concentrate on the fight and enjoy the evening.
‘’Of course, I’m confident but Callum is confident too. We’re both undefeated, we’re both hungry and that’s going to make for a great fight. On Saturday, I will fight my heart out to beat Callum and moving a step closer to the Muhammad Ali Trophy.’’
Tickets for the Smith-Skoglund Muhammad Ali Trophy Quarter- Final and WBC Diamond World title contest on Saturday, September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool are available from £35 at EchoArena.com
(September 14th) British IBO Champion Chris Eubank Jr. (25-1, 19 KOs) and Turkish challenger Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) exchanged words at a kickoff press conference in Stuttgart before their quarter-final bout on October 7 at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, Germany.
The kickoff press conference for one of the most exciting match-ups in the World Boxing Super Series did not disappoint when it comes to verbal punches from both sides. Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Avni Yildirim is clearly a fight between a British fighter eager to prove himself as the best in the world, and a proud Turk who believes he can shock the boxing world and overshadow everyone in the Ali Trophy tournament.
Chris Eubank Jr. (27): “This is the first fight for me in this tournament and I am here to make a statement. I am the man, and I am the man to beat. There will be no mercy for Yildirim, I am here to win. I am not here to make friends, I am not here to look pretty and be a celebrity, I am here in this tournament to become the champion.”
“I am very much looking forward to this fight. I think it is a great match-up. Styles make fights, and the reason I picked this man at the Draft Gala in Monaco is that he is a fighter, he comes forward, he is very active, he is very open, he takes risks, which he will pay for in this fight. I can’t wait!”
“I have a goal, I have a challenge that I have to complete, and that is to win to the Muhammad Ali Trophy and prove that I am the best in world.”
Avni Yildirim (26): “This tournament is a chance for me to fight the best in the world. It is an honor for me to compete against these guys, all giants in the super middleweight division. I respect Chris Eubank Jr. and his champion status, but I will tell him one thing: I am going to make my country proud.”
“I am here to make a dream come true, and I do not see anyone take that dream away from me. I am here to destroy everyone in this tournament. I am not an Instagram or Facebook fighter like Eubank Jr. I am Avni Yildirim, and I am here to destroy, I will do anything to win this fight and win this tournament.”
“I feel good, I am very prepared. Let’s fight!”
After the opening statements Yildirim claimed he never really heard of Eubank Jr. through his years in boxing since beginning at the age 13, and the Briton replied with a quote from the time when Mike Tyson dominated inside and outside the ring: “Do you want to know who I am? I am the baddest man on the planet!”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “We are looking very forward to bringing the Ali Trophy and the World Boxing Super Series to Stuttgart on the 7th of October. The Ali Trophy is a very special tournament, a tournament with a total prize money of 50 million dollars.”
“It is a quarter-final fight, a fight where Chris Eubank Jr. picked his opponent Avni Yildirim, an undefeated challenger from Turkey, In his last fight Yildirim beat a Mexican in Mexico, that says a lot about Yildirim. In Chris’ last fight he made a master class performance at Wembley against Arthur Abraham. So it is two absolute fighting men. absolute talents that belong in the World Boxing Super Series. We are looking forward to a tremendous fight!”