Super middleweight George Groves, boxing's busiest 168-pound contender, will be back in action to face former world title challenger Noe Gonzalez Alcoba on May 25 at the O2 Arena in London, promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport announced on Monday.
The scheduled 12-round fight, which will be part of the Sky Box Office pay-per-view telecast in Great Britain as part of the undercard of the rematch between super middleweight titleholders Mikkel Kessler of Denmark and England's Carl Froch, will be Groves' third fight since March 9.
Groves signed with Hearn in March and fought twice that month, scoring a third-round knockout of Dario German Balmaceda and a second-round knockout of Baker Barakat. If all goes well for Groves (18-0, 14 KOs), 25, of England, against Alcoba, Hearn hopes to secure a 168-pound world title shot for him before the end of the year.
"He's been in with good company and he's got a big KO record so it will be an explosive fight," Groves said. "He's a bit of a banger so I'll have to be on my toes. But I feel that I'm right on track for a world title shot now and there's no margin for error."
Groves looms as a mandatory challenger for titlist Robert Stieglitz and hopes to face him rather than see Stieglitz meet Arthur Abraham in a rubber match. Another possibility for Groves is to challenge the Kessler-Froch II winner.
"I don't think there's any mileage in an immediate rematch between Abraham and Stieglitz," said Groves, who knocked out Barakat on March 23 on the Stieglitz-Abraham II undercard. "Maybe down the line, but I think they're sick of the sight of each other I imagine, so hopefully it's time for someone like me to get a crack at the belt. A stoppage loss for Abraham [in the rematch with Stieglitz] takes a lot of getting over at this stage of his career and his eye was a mess too, so I don't think he'll be the man to fight Robert. I think I am though, and that's a fight I really want.
"A world title fight in London in September would be a dream come true and it's not unrealistic to think it will happen. I'd love for Eddie Hearn to get a world champion over to London and we do a big show in the capital, but I've shown I am happy to box overseas and I would happily do so again for a world title."
Alcoba (30-2, 22 KOs), 33, of Uruguay, challenged then-middleweight titlist Felix Sturm in 2007 in Germany and lost a unanimous decision. Alcoba's other defeat was by second-round knockout to huge puncher Adonis Stevenson last April. Alcoba has won both of his bouts since by first-round knockout.
"This is a pivotal moment in George's career," Hearn said. "[Alcoba] comes with heavy artillery and is also looking for another shot at the world title. Groves is ready for this test and victory will see us pushing for a world title shot in September."