WBC Silver super middleweight champion George Groves (21-2, 16KO’s) has been told he will have to wait if he is to pursue a match with Anthony Dirrell(27-0, 22KO’s) for the WBC World title, as reported on Sky sports.com/boxing.
Groves’s belt indicates his position as the number one contender for the WBC’s full title and it was thought to be the most likely road for the London man in his next bout, but according to a Tweet from Groves’s promoters, Kalle and Nisse Sauerland, the sanctioning body has opted to allow Dirrell to make a voluntary defence of his belt before dispelling the challenges of any ranked contenders.
“WBC boxing voted in favour of four-month extension for a voluntary defense. No opponent or explanation given as yet. We will be putting out a public statement next week. Thanks for the continued public support. Keep it up.”
Having rejected an appeal from the Sauerland’s to force Dirrell into an immediate defence against Groves, the WBC released this statement:
“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 fight mandatory challenger George Groves without any intervening bouts.”
As Groves is delaying a rematch with perennial nemesis James DeGale on the basis of money and a lack of world championship for either man, this latest revelation will have forced him to recalibrate his approach towards a world title. If the time permitted, he could attempt and go another route but his current path is the smoothest.
His position as the top WBC contender outranks his number four position in both the WBA and IBF lists. In addition the IBF has recently announced that Andre Dirrell and James DeGale will contend for their vacant belt, and Groves’s former two-time conqueror Carl Froch sits atop the WBA rankings along with the recently returned Andre Ward.
Froch has already displayed his disdain at giving Groves a third shot at him and Ward is out of the conversation entirely having been inactive for almost fifteen months following contractual difficulties with his former promoters; it is unlikely he will choose a live-wire like Groves to ease himself back into action.
It looks like Groves will have to just force this sour dish down his throat and take a fight against a competent opponent in the interim before he gets a crack at the title later this year. This will be seen as an especially harmful affront by Groves from the WBC; If DeGale wins the IBF title and negotiations for a rematch between the two are initiated before Groves gets his shot, his position at the bargaining table will be severely weakened by his bare waist.