British super middleweight George Groves, who fought just two weeks ago, will be back in action on Saturday as he, trainer/manager Adam Booth and new promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport are plotting an aggressive schedule for the aggressive contender.
According to Hearn, Groves will wind up fighting four times in six months, which is a great thing for Groves, a tremendous talent who has had periods of inactivity due to promotional issues and injuries.
Earlier this month, Groves left promoter Frank Warren to sign with Hearn, a move that cost Groves a planned shot at the vacant European title against Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye. The fight was supposed to be last Saturday in London, but that was before Groves dumped Warren (and the whole card wound up getting postponed because lightweight titlist Ricky Burns, due to face Miguel Vazquez in a unification fight in the main event, also bailed on Warren and signed with Hearn a few days later).
However, Hearn immediately put Groves (17-0, 13 KOs) on a March 9 card and the 24-year-old knocked out Dairo German Balmaceda (11-7-2, 7 KOs) in the third round.
Groves came out of the fight with no issues, clearing the way for him to get right back to work on Saturday in a fight just finalized. He will box Germany’s Baker Barakat (37-13-4, 25 KOs) in an eight-rounder on the undercard of the Arthur Abraham-Robert Stieglitz super middleweight title rematch in Magdeburg, Germany.
It’s a bit of a surprise because Hearn has nothing to do with the Sauerland Event-promoted card. However, Chris Meyer of Sauerland Event said it was simply a matter of co-operation between Hearn, Booth and Kalle Sauerland to put him on the show.
It kind of makes sense, too, since it will be a way for Groves to not only remain active but gain some attention in Germany, which could be useful as he looms as a future mandatory challenger for the Abraham-Stieglitz II winner.
For Groves, however, it’s just a great way for a young fighter still in need of rounds to stay busy.
“He hasn't fought anywhere near enough in the last few years and myself and Adam wanted him out again before May 25,” Hearn said. “It’s just a little eight-rounder and nice bit of PR as he is WBO No. 1 (contender).”
Before Saturday’s fight was set, Groves was already scheduled to fight May 25 in London on the undercard of another super middleweight title rematch, this one between titleholder Carl Froch of England and Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler.
If all goes well Saturday and again in May, Hearn said the fourth bout of Groves’ busy schedule will be “a big fight in September in London.”
I’m not sure what that fight will be, but by gaining attention on the Abraham-Stieglitz II and Froch-Kessler II undercards, it leaves open the realistic possibility that Groves could get a title shot against either winner.