Groves vs Smith: London presser

Paul Zanon
24/08/2018 8:55pm

Paul Zanon reports from the London press conference for the George Groves vs Callum Smith World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight final and finds mutual respect is the order of the day, as opposed to flying tables or trash talk...

Maybe I’ve become accustomed to a bit of sarcasm, an obscene amount of swearing and the occasional table being thrown at pressers in recent years. Today's event to publicise George Groves vs Callum Smith in the final of the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series certainly didn’t deliver on those fronts. Indeed, compared to the Groves vs Eubank Jr pressers, this was levels below on the banter front.

Both Groves and Smith turned up both sporting black eyes from sparring and were incredibly polite and complimentary towards each other, as were their trainers. Thankfully they spared us any fist pumps [flashbacks to Joshua/Klitschko].

The proceedings kicked off with discussion of the state of Groves' shoulder, following a dislocation during the 12th round of the Eubank Jr fight.

“The shoulder is good. Very good,” Groves informed the media in attendance. “It’s bulletproof, tougher than ever.”

The Hammersmith favourite continued by talking about the man who will be in the opposite corner to him in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday [yes Friday] 28 September.

“He’ll [Smith] be the toughest test yet, but not a step too far. I feel I’m in the form of my life. I don’t see Callum posing a problem on fight night. He’ll be another comfortable win.”

Smith countered Groves by saying, “It’s his opinion. I’m in a good place. Training is going very well. It’s a fight I’m confident of winning.”

The Liverpudlian then continued. “I feel I’m a better fighter than anyone he’s faced in this tournament. Whoever gets their game plan correct will win.”

Groves added to the tepidly warm exchange, “May the best man win, but I’m sure it will be me.”

Smith closed the debate with, “I’m looking forward to becoming world champion.”

No fireworks, no flying tables and no need for security then. The most outrageous the dialogue got is when the elephant in the room was addressed regarding how each fighter felt about an all-British showdown being fought in Saudi Arabia.

Groves gave a cagey, non-opinionated answer and Smith added to the theme by saying, “It is what it is.” You kind of got the impression that both camps had been steered as to what not to say in terms of how they would have perhaps enjoyed a showdown in London or Manchester… It will be interesting to see how many Brits will be in attendance on the evening.

Either way, the duo lock horns in September and despite a rather flat presser, I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them letting their hands go on 28 September.