George Groves has defended his decision to enter the World Boxing Super Series and has urged his super-middleweight rival Tyron Zeuge to join him in the 16-man, two-weight elimination tournament.
Groves became the first fighter to commit himself to the knock-out competition – putting his WBA super-middleweight belt on the line in a tournament not dissimilar from the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which featured the likes of Carl Froch, Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham.
Groves finally became a world champion at the fourth attempt with a sixth-round stoppage of Fedor Chudinov on the undercard of Brook vs Spence at Bramall Lane in May.
The Hammersmith-born fighter is now determined to unify the super-middleweight division and has set his sights on eliminating the threat of Zeuge, who comfortably defeated Paul Smith to retain his WBA (regular) title on Saturday.
“Boxing fans will understand that, at the moment, the WBA have this strange thing where they have a super champion and a regular champion,” Groves said. “I’ve just achieved the dream and become WBA world champion – oh wait a minute, there’s another guy who is fighting and defending it a couple of weeks later.
“If Zeuge goes in it and I fight Zeuge, we will eliminate one of those belts.
“I think he needs to step up in opposition. No disrespect to Paul Smith – he’s been a great ambassador for the sport – but he hasn’t been in massive competitive fights lately and he knows that.”
Groves added: “Zeuge is good enough. He’s got a world title so he should be in this competition, I’d like to see him it but I’d like to get my hands on him first.”
Groves faces the prospect of three world title fights in the space of 10 months, should he progress to the final, and the 29-year-old admits the tough schedule could prove to be a challenge.
“It’s quite a brutal schedule, it will take its toll on the body,” Groves said. “It’s not for the weak or for the old, it’s going to be back-to-back exciting fights.
“Everyone was so excited about the Super Six – the only flaw in it was that it sort of took a bit too long, I felt. Fights got delayed – this is different.
“You have to be healthy, you have to be healthy because these are the dates that you’re going to be boxing. Your belts are going to be on the line – so you need to be 100 per cent.”
British fighters James DeGale and Callum Smith are two other potential entrants to tournament, although Groves expects the competition to come too soon for DeGale, who recently underwent surgery on his shoulder.
“James DeGale had a shoulder operation of something lately – he’s said he’s had it a while and is happy to box with it but now he’s decided the time is right to have a break and that he needs to get it fixed,” said Groves.
“That’s ruled him out of this, from the sounds of it that’s an operation that will rule him out for the next ten months. That probably suits him, if he does keep getting injured he’s not going to be able to keep up in this tournament.”
Groves added: “Callum Smith, on the other hand, has got his fight with the WBC. Why don’t we try and get Smith and [Anthony] Dirrell in this tournament?
“Smith beat Dirrell, he knows that maybe one, two fights time – if I win, or maybe don’t win, he could come out with two belts in the space of 10 months’ time.”