The World Boxing Super Series is a tournament open to all Boxers that are ranked in the top 15 of any or all of the four recognized rankings (IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC). The upcoming tournament will consist of eight elite fighters who will battle it out in a bracket style elimination competition with 4 quarter-finals (September/October 2017), two semifinals (January/February 2018) and a final (May 2018). The winner will win The prestigious Muhammed Ali Trophy along with a total of $50million of prize money.
World Boxing Super Series – The Super-Middleweights
Here we profile the contenders
George ‘The Saint’ Groves
The first confirmed competitor of the tournament and the favorite to many. Groves comes off the back of a career defining win, landing the elusive world title after three unsuccessful attempts against Carl Froch (twice) and Badou Jack.
Groves realized his World Champion winning ambition stopping Fedor Chudinov May this year to claim the WBA strap. After a very narrow defeat against Jack (now operating at Light Heavy) and a controversial stoppage against Froch in the first fight where he was well in front on the scorecards, Groves managed to resurrect his career under the tutelage of Shane Mcguigan. Impressive bouts against domestic rival Martin Murray and Russian Chudinov show good form.
Experience of fighting the likes of James Degale, Carl Froch, Badou Jack and feeling the pressure of fighting in front of 90,000 fans gives him a real advantage and he is big at this weight, carries real power in his right hand.
Best Weapon: Fast, stiff left jab
Odds for the Championship: 5/2
Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith
Callum Smith is the bookies favorite for the Super Series. Coming from a family of fighters with brothers Paul, Stephen, and Liam all successful professional Boxers in their own right, Callum is considered to be the one who could potentially be the Super Star of the bunch.
His considerable frame standing at 6 ft 3 in (191cm) and athletic physique will be a match for any fighter and his long reach enables even greater punching power.
Trainer Joe Gallagher knows what it takes to train a champion, having trained Anthony Crolla and Scott Quigg amongst others.
A very impressive KO ratio of 77% over 22 fights but at the age of 27 his real tests are yet to come. The opponents he has faced so far don’t have the same resume as some of his Super Middleweight counterparts but he will be confident of lifting the trophy come May next year.
Best Weapon: Left Hook
Odds for the Championship: 13/8
Chris Eubank Jr ‘Next Gen’
Needs no introduction, he makes sure everybody knows him and what he is about. Initially a middleweight, he has quickly put himself in the mix with the Super-Middle contenders after a comfortable nights work against the very experienced Arthur Abraham. He showed a huge repertoire of shots during that fight against the granite chin of Abraham, proving he has come far since the early career setback against current Middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders.
Occasionally, his bravado and exaggerated machismo coupled with the antics of his father, mask his real strength which is his conditioning. Chris Eubank Jr has an unbelievable work ethic and always prepares meticulously for fights. His conditioning will be second to none in preparation for his first fight against Avni Yildirim.
He is on collision course for a showdown with George Groves providing they both come through their respective quarter final fights. He has called Groves out previously so it could be fascinating should it come to fruition.
Best Weapon: Right Uppercut.
Odds to win The Championship: 3/1
The German should not be overlooked. Operated at Light Heavyweight and was World Champion. Has beaten Enzo Maccarinelli and Eduard Gutknecht during a 51 fight career and has a decent KO record of 69%. Not too many other stellar names on the record.
At the age of 38, he may not boast the speed of some of the contenders but he will certainly still display plenty of ring-craft and experience.
Most fighters would consider moving up in weight as they get older rather than boiling down to Super-Middle, time will tell whether the weight has come off correctly.
He withdrew in round six of his last fight against Nathan Cleverly due to a shoulder injury.
Best Weapon: Straight Right
Odds to win the Championship: 14-1
Jumped at the chance of competing in the Tournament following his switch to Matchroom with Eddie Hearn. Was due to fight Rocky Fielding but decided that it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Big things have been expected of this Southpaw fighter after a 2006 Commonwealth Gold medal pointed to a bright future. Inactivity and some problems outside of Boxing have sent him under the radar.
The fact that George Groves picked him to fight out of all other competitors will surely stoke up this domestic clash.
Moving up from super-welterweight, you wouldn’t imagine he will carry the same power as the favorites but a decent amateur pedigree shows he won’t just make up the numbers.
Best Weapon: Lead Right Hook
Odds to win The Championship: 16-1
Avni Yildirim ‘Mr. Robot’
Maybe not considered the most skillful of Boxers, but he will be treated with respect due to a bullish style, walking down opponents and marching through them.
The Turkish fighter is currently the WBC International Super-Middleweight Champion and will have the task of suppressing the inimitable Chris Eubank Jr in his first bout.
His respect has been earned through sparring sessions against some of the Worlds best like James Degale. In fact, a claim from David Haye suggested that Degale’s teeth were knocked out in sparring by Yildirim and NOT by Badou Jack.
Best Weapon: Right Uppercut
Odds to win The Championship: 18-1
Another Sauerland Fighter within the Super Series. The Swedish Boxer will be one of the bigger Super-Middleweights having operated at light heavy and held the International WBA title.
Having not tasted defeat, he will be full of confidence and a tasty first fight with the equally tall and rangy Callum Smith is eagerly anticipated. Smith and Skoglund measuring up 6 ft 3 in and 6ft 1 in respectively, it could turn out to be a ‘don’t blink’ sort of fight.
Nothing to lose as an outsider this 26-year-old is dangerous, but he will have to be at his very best and hope that Smith isn’t.
Best Weapon: Counter Right
Odds to win The Championship: 33-1
Rob ‘Bravo’ Brant
The only American in The Series. Forging his career predominantly in the states and gaining valuable experience sparring the likes of super talented Errol Spence Jr he has certainly got those in the know a little excited at the prospect of going further.
That hasn’t yet manifested itself in terms of the odds of him winning, he is one of the outsiders of the Competition but that won’t trouble him as he readies himself for a fight with German Juergen Braehmer. It will be a tale of two fighters at opposite ends of their career and Brant will have to show he wants it more.
Fighting at Middleweight during his career so far, we shouldn’t expect him to be a single punch knockout merchant, that said he has an explosive straight right.
Best Weapon: Straight Right.
Odds to win The Championship: 33-1