The super middleweight bracket of the World Boxing Super Series came to an end in amazing fashion as Callum Smith (2nd seed) defeated George Groves (1st seed) by 7th round knockout to become the WBA super middleweight “super” champion and retain the WBC diamond super middleweight title. Smith also became the Ring Magazine super middleweight champion and holds the Muhammad Ali Trophy for becoming the winner of the boxing series.
Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) took advantage of his height and reach to gain the upper hand in a close fight against Groves (28-4, 20 KOs), but also used his right hand to hurt Groves during the fight. While Groves was trying to outbox his younger opponent, Smith looked for the power shots from the start to hurt Groves. The opening rounds were sort of a chess match as they measured each other to land punches from a distance. Groves used the jab early in the first round, but a right cross landed by Smith made Groves think a little before coming back with the jab. In the second, Groves started to fight off his back foot and watch for what Smith was going to do as the feint came into play when Groves was backing into the ropes. He landed on Smith with the right hand near the end of Round 2, but Smith started to find his target with his own right hand.
In Round 3, Groves got hit with a right hand that made him stumble a little bit and Smith tried to capitalize with a flurry on Groves while he was on the ropes. Groves was able to get out of that, but that signaled the theme of how this fight would eventually turn out. Smith came in with a high guard and landed with the right hand in the 4th. Groves came back a little in the 5th by throwing jabs to the body and attempting to score over the top. He also scored with a right hook to the body before the end of the round. In the 6th, Groves looked to do more of the same as the previous round with the jab to the body but got caught off balance by a left hook by Callum with less than one minute left in the round.
After landing a right hand in the beginning of the round, Groves seemed to have his composure in the 7th. He used that right hand a few times in the first half of this round but got caught with a left hook that took him backwards. Smith followed Groves to the corner and threw a flurry of shots that Groves did not have much of an answer for. A right hook landed to Groves’s body was what put Groves to the canvas, and a full ten count was administered as he did not want to get up from that shot.
“I’ve never been hurt by a body shot before this in my entire career,” Groves stated after his first loss since 2015. “But all credit to Callum. He deserves this night.”
Callum Smith was in his first world title fight of his professional career against Groves and he took full advantage of it with his performance. He stayed calm while Groves was trying to execute his gameplan and his power proved to be the difference.
“It’s been a long time coming…I said for a long time that I’m a big believer in my own ability and I knew I was good enough to become the best on the planet,” Smith said. “Tonight I reminded people how good I am.”
He gave his opponent respect as a fighter and a former champion as well.
“Credit to George Groves…he’s a great champion and had a very good career. He is someone I respected coming through the ranks and I’m honored to share the ring with him.”
The undefeated fighter got through the tournament by beating Erik Skoglund in the first round by unanimous decision and then Neiky Holzken in the semifinal by unanimous decision before his fight against Groves. On the flip side, Groves defeated Jamie Cox by KO and got through a shoulder injury late in his fight against Chris Eubank Jr. to reach the final. This match was delayed due to that Groves’s injury, but both were given time to prepare for this match to decide who would end up as the highest ranked super middleweight in the world. With Callum’s win over Groves, he becomes the top guy in the division.
Smith looks to celebrate this win and then move forward with his wish to defend in his hometown of Liverpool.
“I’d love to defend these world titles back at Liverpool and give the great fight city a great night of world championship boxing,” Callum remarked.
Cover photo by World Boxing Super Series