World Boxing Super Series

Chris Eubank Jr and JJ McDonagh clashed over Eubank Jr's post-fight comments.

Chris Eubank Jr won his comeback fight in Saudi Arabia when opponent JJ McDonagh retired after three rounds with a shoulder injury.

Eubank Jr, 29, was not impressed after a disappointing end to his ring return in Jeddah when Irishman McDonagh failed to come out for round four.

"I was starting to land at will," Eubank Jr told ITV Box Office. "He was starting to feel my power.

"But it's a win, now we look for a big fight at the end of the year."

McDonagh stumbled to the canvas in the opening round after Eubank Jr's sweeping left hook caught the top of his head and knocked him off balance.

In the second round, Eubank Jr patiently stalked his opponent with his long left jab as McDonagh came forward willingly swinging.

But the Brighton boxer, who extended his record to 27 wins with 21 stoppages and just two defeats, found his range in the third round as he relentlessly fired combinations at an unforgiving pace.

McDonagh rose from his stool at the start of the fourth, but grabbed his shoulder and asked the referee to call an end to proceedings.

information taken from the BBC site

Callum Smith v George Groves

Smith hurt Groves, who retreated to the corner of the ring where a crucial body shot was landed to end the contest.

Callum Smith ended fellow Briton George Groves' 16-month reign as WBA world super-middleweight champion and won the World Boxing Super Series with a stunning seventh-round knockout.

The Liverpudlian, 28, landed a left hook to hurt Groves, who hung on until a body shot finally floored him.

As 30-year-old Groves shook his head, the new champion dropped to his knees in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Smith follows his sibling Liam in becoming a world champion.

A second world title for Smiths.

The Smith brothers
Callum Smith: WBA, WBC (Diamond) and Ring Magazine super-middleweight champion Liam Smith: Former WBO light-middleweight champion lost to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in 2016
Stephen Smith: Two-time world title challenger at super-featherweight Paul Smith: Three-time world title challenger at super-middleweight
All four Smith brothers - including former British champions Paul and Stephen - embraced in the ring after the fight.

Callum, the youngest of the four, entered the inaugural World Boxing Super Series to give himself a chance of winning a world title, as the more traditional routes had proven fruitless.

And he remained poised during the biggest test of his career.

As the taller fighter, he maintained enough distance to force Groves into committing forward but struck the right balance in being close enough to pick off attacks from his opponent with well-timed right hands.

Despite appearing to hurt Groves in the third round, when the Londoner's legs buckled after a right hand, Smith was only ahead on one of the four cards when the stoppage came, with his opposite number up on two and a fourth judge marking the fight level.

But those scores mattered for nothing when Smith caught Groves with a left hook, forcing the champion to backpedal into the corner. There, he was swamped, with a right hand to the body - one of countless shots in the attack - forcing Groves to wilt.

Callum Smith v George Groves

Smith was joined by his father (left) and brothers Paul, Liam and Stephen.

The Middle East had never hosted this level of boxing before, but the crowd at the 10,000-seat King Abdullah Sports City Arena seemed to appreciate the clinical nature of the finish.

Some fans on social media argued that a bout so intriguing and well balanced should have been held on British soil, but organisers insisted their tournament is global and Saudi Arabia's new desire to stage big events ultimately told.

Those present got to see Smith, at 6ft 3in - about four inches taller than Groves, appear classy and decisive throughout against an opponent with far more big-fight experience.

Groves said the dislocated shoulder he sustained in beating Chris Eubank Jr last time out played no part in his defeat. He instead praised his opponent, who boxed with discipline to maximise his physical attributes.

Smith, for his part, is the first man to win the World Boxing Super Series at super-middleweight. He picks up the biggest share of the estimated £6.1m in prize money on offer and is now likely to target a title defence in his home city before turning to potential unification encounters.

'It means everything, Liverpool next'

Callum Smith v George Groves

Smith takes home the Muhammad Ali Trophy for claiming the World Boxing Super Series.

Callum Smith told ITV Box Office: "I know how good I am and knew I had the ability. I had a slow couple of years and people forgot about me. I think tonight I reminded people.

"I felt I was ahead at the time of the stoppage. I feel like I was beating him at his own game, it was a boxing match at range. I got my big shots off first and he couldn't take it.

"It just means everything. I am not a man who shows a lot of emotion, you never see me ecstatic, but you can see tonight it is a lifetime of work all gone into one.

"I'd like to think we are not finished but I'd love to defend my titles back in Liverpool and give a great fighting city a great night of boxing".

George Groves: "It was not meant to be. Full credit to Callum. Boxed well, heavy-handed. He got me with a body shot at the end, which is embarrassing for me, because I've never been dropped with a body shot in my life, but he got the decisive shot in the end.

"I'm not going to make excuses. The shoulder worked and Callum was the better man on the night. That's tough for me to say but I have to be honest.

"I'm going to have a long rest because it's been a dogged year. I won the world title just over a year ago, but I want to go home because I miss my wife and kids."

Plaudits for Smith.

Callum Smith v George Groves

Callum Smith's brothers and trainer Joe Gallagher rushed to join him in the ring.

Former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew: Ruthless! Brilliant finish from Callum Smith. So people told me he had no chance and I told you he would win it! Catch and counter left hook and the right hook the body took the fight right out of GG.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney: Brilliant performance from Callum Smith. Congratulations on becoming world champion.

Ex-Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher: Get in! Callum Smith what a performance!

Former world super-bantamweight champion Scott Quigg: Callum Smith, absolute class performance. Patience & destructive.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson: Amazing Callum Smith wins having dominated the fight from the start, relentless punishment a ruthless. Real class performance and a worthy champion of the world.

information taken from the BBC site

Callum Smith v George Groves

Callum Smith is sparring eight rounds with rotating partners.

Sodden with sweat, he moves on to bag work and shadow boxing to complete a dozen three-minute segments in the 32C heat of Joe Gallagher's Gym in Bolton.

It is energy-sapping to watch as he sits in deep contemplation on the ropes when his graft is done. It is 4pm. Five hours later he will do treadmill intervals back in his home city of Liverpool.

The 28-year-old is hard at work as he knows he is nearing the top of the mountain. Just one fight stands between him and a world title.

If he beats George Groves to take the WBA world super-middleweight title and win the World Boxing Super Series in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, it will be a dream fulfilled for the self-proclaimed "cheesy" little brother, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his three elder siblings.

'Mum has a point but I can't turn back now'
All four Smiths became British champions. So far Paul and Stephen have been beaten at world title level, while Liam has won and lost bouts for the WBO world light-middleweight title.

The sight of his three elders boxing and being praised as youngsters drew Callum in as an eight-year-old.

He is thankful for the life it has provided but all too aware of the desperate sadness that comes with defeat. He, like many fighters, knows the changing rooms can be a place where tough men go to cry.

"I've been there for every world title fight my family have been involved in. I've been there in the changing rooms," Smith, 28, tells BBC Sport. "I've experienced the nerves - perhaps more when it's not me and when it's one of them.

"Defeat is tough. I lost in the amateurs, losing a controversial fight that stopped me going to an Olympic Games - and it's not a nice feeling. Being in the changing rooms with my brothers for fights they've lost having worked so hard, my mum has said all the highs aren't worth the one low.

"She has a point but I have come too far to turn away and give up now. I've chased a dream since I was a kid and if I didn't believe I was good enough to achieve it then I would have walked away. But I know I am good enough to beat Groves."

'Groves has a lot of miles on the clock'
Smith shared space in the same Great Britain amateur squad as Anthony Joshua.

The talent pool he honed his craft within was deep, so it is perhaps unsurprising he has chosen to let his boxing do the talking rather than opt to pursue trash talk as a pro.

A haul of 24 wins from 24 bouts has allowed the quiet man to just go about his business. As he works out before us, he is focused, rattling off the rounds and listening to trainer Gallagher shout his next instruction.
"Shadow", comes the cry from Gallagher, prompting his fighter to oblige for three minutes, no questions asked.

Groves, who dislocated his elbow in the final round of his last win over Chris Eubank Jr in February, will likely be exerting himself in similar fashion some 200 miles away near London.

The 30-year-old was a decorated amateur and has gone on to very publicly lose two world title shots against Carl Froch and narrowly fail in another against Badou Jack before finally achieving his dream with victory over Russia's Fedor Chudinov in May last year.

He has even beaten Smith's eldest brother Paul in 2011. Such a journey again ensures there will be no trash talk, just respect from the Liverpudlian.

"He has shown he can box, shown he has a boxing brain and also that he can dig in and fight when needs be," says Smith. "You need a little bit of everything to reach the top in this sport and he ticks a lot of those boxes.

"He has had a very good career to come back from the defeats he had. He kept going and you have to respect that.
But it has come at a price. It has put a lot of miles and wear and tear on his body.

"I just believe I am the younger, fresher, better man and it's my time to take his title off him and for me to sit at the top of the pile."

'Very few get there'
Smith will boil his 6ft 3in frame down to 168lbs (12st) for fight night. Showered after his tough sparring, he calls through a food order to a local cafe with strict instruction for the inclusion of "loads of broccoli".

His trainer Gallagher will drive over to Liverpool in a few hours to observe the treadmill work. He feels it necessary as only he has observed the fighter enough through camp to know if he can work harder on the night or needs to be eased off.

Their bond is obvious - so much so that Smith says that when he walks to the ring at 21:00 BST on Friday in the obscure surroundings of Jeddah, it is the voices of his father, three brothers and Gallagher which will ensure it feels like home.

As champion, Groves - unbeaten in over three years - will follow him to the ring for lavish, strobe-light-filled ring walks that have become something of a hallmark of the World Boxing Super Series.

Both men know they can become the first winner of the Super Series at super-middleweight, with the Muhammad Ali Trophy as well as the world title Groves brings, leaving with the winner.

"It would mean everything," concludes Smith. "This sport is so tough and fighters start out with the same goal but very, very few get to achieve it.

"To become a world champion, I haven't just appeared here. It's been 20 years of work and ups and downs.

"It's been tough at times but to reach the top of the mountain would be a very proud feeling for me, my family, Joe and those who helped me get to where I am now."

information taken from the BBC site

Callum Smith v George Groves

George Groves (left) will defend his WBA super-middleweight title against the unbeaten Callum Smith (right)

The World Boxing Super Series hoped to revolutionise boxing. Saudi Arabia wants change of its own. Maybe the two fit like hand in glove after all.

It is not Las Vegas, nor is it New York and Madison Square Garden... it is the desert. It is part of the world that has never seen boxing of this level before.

So just how has George Groves versus Callum Smith, a world-title fight, the final of the World Boxing Super Series and a bout which would fill a UK arena with ease, ended up 4,000 miles away?

Global ambition, the price of oil, a Crown Prince, a country's freshened image and, of course money, were all parts of the puzzle that led to the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah.

'This is not about two Brits'
"I don't want to compare us to Muhammad Ali but taking events like the 'Thrilla in Manila' or the 'Rumble in the Jungle' has shown big events can go to new places," says World Boxing Super Series boss Kalle Sauerland.

"We are the first major boxing event to take place in the Middle East region - that's making history."

Sauerland, whose family has a rich history of promoting in Germany, Scandinavia, the US and more, has always maintained the World Boxing Super Series is a global event. Great Britain may be having a boxing boom, and Groves and Smith may hail from Blighty, but so be it.

Fans asked why? This bout, mouthwatering on paper, was chiselled into the fight calendar. Some baulked at the process and cost of visas, others questioned where tickets were being sold, while internet whispers pointed to a hefty fee paid to the Super Series were it to land in Jeddah.

"I saw comments stating 'we had to go there'. That's rubbish," adds Sauerland, who is about to oversee season two of the Super Series.

"It's a site deal. I've done many in boxing before. It's a simple site deal based on us going there. To be honest, financially it would have been better to be in the UK as we'd have had a massive crowd at football stadium.

"This is not about two Brits, it's about the Champions league of boxing. As everyone knows, Champions League teams travel, no matter where the teams are from."

From oil to major events
Fans wishing to travel to Jeddah needed a visa. To get one, they required an invite from a Saudi resident that would in turn form part of an application to the Saudi Embassy.

One of the 37 agencies who provide visas listed by the Saudi Embassy - Gulf Visa - charged £249 for the service and say the process "can be difficult to understand" on their website.

But it is here, at this potential barrier, that the country's future aspiration becomes clear. This week, the creation of a new visa was announced, one that will be accessible for a huge Formula E event in December and one which will be easier to obtain, aimed at tourists looking to simply attend music, sport or entertainment events in the future.

The move is a small part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's strategy for transitioning away from a largely oil-dependent economy. Oil prices plummeted from more than $140 a barrel in 2009 to just over $25 in 2016. While they have recovered to $80, the swings prompted a rethink of how a prosperous future will be achieved.

The WWE has held a televised stadium show there, Formula E has signed a 10-year race deal in the region and the UFC is expected to one day land in the desert. These large-scale events send a message that Saudi Arabia is open for the biggest events and visitors in tow.

Speaking of large scale, the world's first 1km high building is set to open in Jeddah next year. Bold statements are being sent globally.

"The vision isn't just to hold these events but to make them world-class, to show this country is competing," says Hussam Al Mayman, a reporter, producer and presenter in Jeddah.

"Those in charge do have the mentality and the finances to pull something like that off. It's more an attitude of 'we need this, these wins are crucial' rather than being about financial return.

"It's more about laying the foundations for a solid platform for our future."

'As a country, we were fed up'
In tandem with economic change comes cultural adaptation.

The country which only allowed women to drive in 2018, one where cinemas were banned until this year, where alcohol is outlawed and where gender segregation is in place in some public places, wants to re-invent its conservative image.

Women are still asked to wear an abaya to cover themselves in public but even this law appears to be easing. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - who heads up Vision 2030 - said earlier this year that a woman's attire is down to her choice.

Some are taking things into their own hands. Despite exercise in public being largely taboo for women, boxer and kick boxer Halah Alhamrani began offering women-only combat classes in her spare room. She now boasts her own Jeddah studio called Flag Boxing - Fight Like A Girl.

There you will find women, or mums watching their daughters, thumping punch bags in this most conservative of states.

It seems widespread change is afoot. A youthful population - where stats show around 58% are under the age of 30 - are demanding it. The stigma of laws deemed stringent by western protocol may, however, take time to shift.

Zoe Robinson - a 2008 Paralympic Boccia gold medallist - has travelled the world following Smith, his boxing brothers and Manchester fighter Anthony Crolla.

"We put her application in and they said she'd be given a garment to wear on arrival," said Smith's trainer Joe Gallagher. "I know we have to respect the country and culture but it has understandably unnerved her a little, which is a shame."

Al-Mayman added: "Newcomers are embraced. The country has lived in harmony with the expat community for years. So don't believe the hype.

"I don't see any issue at all as long as people are respectful of the culture here. I wouldn't kiss my wife or girlfriend in the street but you can walk around with a female and no-one will really bother you. It's very diverse as there are so many sub-cultures here.

"Certain things were part of an extreme past and that has gone mainly. As a country we were fed up of it."

'Are fans familiar with the contestants? I doubt it'
The message from the fighters on the venue has been humble. Asked by media if they would encourage people to begin boxing at Wednesday's news conference they were unanimous in saying yes.

Both, though, admit they have not paid too much attention on the wider cultural impact of the bout as their focus is so intense on simply winning.

The temperature could be at around 36C when they walk to the ring at what will be around 21:00 BST in the UK, or 23:00 locally, on Friday - though the arena is air-conditioned.

Getting them there has been no easy feat. Gallagher explained every bit of kit had to be documented, energy drinks were initially not allowed to be transported, neither was simple medication such as hydration sachets.

Sauerland expects a healthy number of expats in the Arena, mixed with locals who will almost certainly be witnessing boxing for the first time.

He is the first to state his worldwide promotional work has taught him cultures engage with a fight night differently, from the quiet, studious offer German fans can bring, to the rugged gladiatorial feel brought by Danish crowds.

Al Mayman, who covered the WWE when it sold out a 60,000-seat stadium in Jeddah, added: "There is some interest in boxing here. We all grew up loving the Rocky movies.

"The fight has gathered interest as a boxing event because people are intrigued to have one in Saudi.

"But are fans familiar with the contestants? I doubt it to tell the truth. Most of the attendees will be there because it's a first."

British fight fans may well feel frustrated a bout of such magnitude is not on their doorstep. But when consideration is given to the fact season two of the Super Series visits America twice and Japan in the coming weeks, Sauerland's insistence on his product being of global nature is backed up.

Saudi Arabia, Jeddah and an all-together new audience will benefit. Those watching will be exposed to a new art. For the region and the sport broadly, surely that cannot be a bad thing.

information taken from the BBC site

Billy Joe Saunders

Saunders has been the WBO middleweight world champion since 2015.

British WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders has been fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control for a social media video that police described as "sickening".

Saunders, 29, has apologised for the video, in which he tells a woman he will give her £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act.

The BBBofC found him guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute and issued a severe reprimand as well as the fine.

The fine will go to a BBBofC charity.

The charity will use it to assist ex-boxers and ex-licence holders who have fallen on hard times.

"You have a responsibility as a boxer, as a high profile sportsman, not to take advantage of people," Saunders' promoter, Frank Warren, told BBC Sport.

"He knows that now better than anybody. It was very poor judgement on his behalf, and hopefully that's behind him now."

In the clip Saunders was also seen asking the woman to punch a passer-by, which she does, before he drives off.

Police have started an investigation into the incident.

No drugs could be seen in the video and the fighter later described it as "banter" that "went wrong".

"Apologise to everybody who's took offence - totally in the wrong, can't do anything but be sorry," Saunders tweeted.

Unbeaten Saunders is due to defend his title against American Demetrius Andrade in Boston on 20 October.

information taken from the BBC site

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