Groves gets WBO title shot vs. Stieglitz

The Boxing Tribune Geoff Poundes
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Young gun Englishman George Groves gets an early and surprise chance at a world title when he challenges Robert Stieglitz for the German’s WBO super middleweight title on May 5.

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The 24-year-old Groves pulled out of a March rematch with Scotsman Kenny Anderson citing back problems, but the rumor mill has been rumbling ever since, suggesting the Stieglitz match was in the works.

Now that the fight has been confirmed, it represents a major opportunity for Groves, who has only boxed 14 times as a professional. He’s unbeaten and holds a highly creditable win over arch-rival James Degale, but is undoubtedly untested even at European level, let alone on the world stage.

Stieglitz is reckoned to be a weak champion in a strong division, which is why the wily Adam Booth, Groves’s trainer and mentor, will have been quick to accept the contest. Stieglitz will be on home soil in the Messehalle, Efurt, and has amassed an impressive looking 41 wins in 43 fights. A closer examination of the 30-year-old’s credentials, however, reveals a disturbing lack of quality opposition, and that includes the six title defenses he’s managed since grabbing the title back in 2009.

Groves and Booth will know that to win in Germany they’ll need to take the issue out of the hands of the judges. Stieglitz has been stopped before, and Groves, who showed how powerfully he punches when knocking out tough-guy Paul Smith in his last fight, has all the tools to make that happen.

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