After what was a dramatic night in Saudi Arabia, Callum Smith takes the super-middleweight crown winning the prestigious Ali Trophy to become the WBA and Ring Magazine Champion.
When this bout was announced to take place in Saudi Arabia it was probably one of the most bizarre promotional ideas people had come across. We have seen some great domestic tear-ups in this country in recent times and George Groves vs Callum Smith is one many were looking forward to, but here’s the catch it’s in the Middle-East. Madness.
The atmosphere itself was strange, not one you would expect for a British dust-up. That is of course apart from a chap called Zuhayr Al Qahtani who the crowd seemed to go rather mad for.
Nonetheless, the main event produced fireworks. It was hard to know how good Smith would be, having not looked the most convincing throughout the tournament and you just had the feeling Groves might have the upper-hand with greater ‘big fight’ experience. After six tough and tense rounds of action, the Liverpudlian came out firing in the seventh, pummelling Groves to the ground with a vast array of punches and Saint George was unable to make the count.
Groves and Smith met in the unlikely but immensely impressive King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah. Groves returning having come through against Eubank Jr. in the semi-final despite the fact he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the fight. The injury is the reason this fight took so long to make, and you just wonder whether that proved dividends in the fight with the Londoner looking a shadow of his former self.
It started off cautiously from both men and round two was very similar. The fact was becoming clear however that Smith was clearly trying to land a hefty blow to win the fight and he continued this tactic as the rounds went on.
In round three Smith caught Groves with a heavy right hand, but the then WBA Champ recovered well and kept jabbing at his opponent. Groves was landing some menacing combinations but it did not seem enough to really damage Smith. It was, as ever, a sensational production put on by the World Boxing Super Series and, despite the unlikely setting, you always felt what a big occasion this was.
Onto round seven and Groves looked deflated as Smith came out looking to tear him apart. He landed some ferocious combinations on Groves as he unleashed himself onto the super-middleweight scene in remarkable fashion.
Elsewhere on the card, Chris Eubank Jr. made his return with an easy night’s work as JJ McDonagh retired on his stall after the third round.
JJ McDonagh had been certain he would knock Jr. out and the post-fight interviews turned into something out of Jeremy Kyle.
It was, however, very refreshing to have Eubank Jr. back and talking so openly and honestly about his career. Without Eubank Sr. around it seemed he could really be himself finally and it is something we ultimately need to see more of.