WBC Champion Anthony Dirrell has been granted permission to proceed with a voluntary defense of his title in April. This issue was voted on after mandatory contender George Groves’ team appealed the initial decision by the WBC. The recent WBC press-release stated:
“After a thorough revision and a voting process by the WBC Board of Governors the ruling has confirmed the following:
To permit Anthony Dirrell to make the proposed voluntary defense in the month of April with the winner committed to fighting mandatory challenger George Groves without any intervening bouts.”
Translation: Anthony Dirrell has been granted permission to avoid a fight with WBC mandatory contender European Super middleweight champion George Groves.
If that seems harsh, one needs only blame the WBC and Anthony Dirrell. As of this writing, there have been no reasons given by either of them. As far as anyone can tell, there are no “bigger money” contenders being discussed for Dirrell in April. Andre Ward is not part of the discussion, Chavez Jr. is fighting Fonfara in April and Froch is out with an injury until summer.
Along with being Dirrell’s mandatory challenger, Groves is also the biggest fight out there for him. Why actively seek anyone else? My efforts to contact WBC representatives have gone unanswered, so for now the boxing public is left to assume that Dirrell is simply not ready for Groves.
I know that Anthony Dirrell has heart. The guy has come back from a terrible motorcycle accident and cancer. I would never question his courage, and it is understandable if Dirrell needs a tune-up fight. He has not had a fight since he beat Sakio Bika for the title back in August and Groves is a big challenge. If Dirrell needs a tune-up, so be it.
The problem is that no one is speaking up. Shouldn’t the WBC take their own mandatory challengers more seriously? Shouldn’t it be a big enough deal that it would warrant justification? I am not crying conspiracy here; I am crying apathy. George Groves earned his “mandatory”, and it should mean something. Unfortunately, it does not.
So what are we left with? The WBC has granted Anthony Dirrell permission to fight “anyone that is not George Groves” in April. Under the current circumstances, this results in a legitimate fight being delayed until the end of the year. In that fight’s place, we can expect a “tune-up” disguised as a championship level fight. The reason for this decision? Your guess is as good as mine, which seems to be perfectly fine with everyone involved.