Callum Smith sensationally knocked out George Groves in the seventh-round last night to win the World Boxing Super Series final at super-middleweight. Competing in the unlikely setting of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Smith rose to the occasion in his toughest test so far.
As early as the second round Groves started looking like a fighter who had achieved his goals and had a few too many miles on the clock. Smith’s significant size advantages (as spoken about in the preview article) were a factor throughout the fight. Groves struggled to get inside and land any meaningful leather on a consistent basis without getting tagged.
The Londoner’s success was coming whenever he threw with Smith, and he landed some sporadic jabs while Callum tried to find a home for his right hand. Groves did not have any visible struggles with the shoulder he damaged in the semi-final against Chris Eubank Jr. Indeed, when later tweeting a congratulatory message, he mentioned that the shoulder held up fine.
Tall and rangy, Smith looked physically strong and never in any danger of being hurt. On the two occasions he did end up on the canvas it was due to a tangling of feet. Callum’s pre-fight proclamations that he boxes up or down to the level of opposition rang true.
Groves was a considerable step-up from the likes of Luke Blackledge and substitute semi-final opponent Nieky Holzken and Smith responded with a career-best display.
Smith walks away with a hefty payday along with Groves’ WBA trinket and the Ring Magazine super-middleweight belt which unofficially crowns him as the world’s best 168-pound fighter. “Mundo” was the puncher here and rocked Groves in the third round with a solid right hand. Groves regrouped well and got back on the jab, and it was a tight affair through the fifth.
Wobbled by a left hook in the seventh, Groves was suddenly on heavy legs and tried his utmost to regroup. Liverpool’s Smith smelt blood and instantly switched into finishing mode. Groves was unable to weather the storm, and Smith smashed the champion to his knees. The referee’s count ensued but Groves shook his head in the manner of a man who knows his career at the top level is drawing to a close.
It’s been quite a ride for Groves, who has not indicated any retirement plans just yet. Conversely, the big nights are just beginning for the victor.