The all-British World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super-middleweight final between George Groves and Callum Smith is undoubtedly one of the this year's most eagerly anticipated boxing bouts.
Unfortunately for fight fans, though, leading promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that the showdown could now be in jeopardy due to injury.
Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) advanced to the final of the lucrative tournament in mid-February when he outpointed Chris Eubank Jr in an absorbing and bloody semi-final battle at the Manchester Arena.
The current WBA (Super) super-middleweight champion was then joined in the final by Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) a week later, after he decisively defeated late replacement Nieky Holtzen by unanimous decision in his semi final in Nuremberg, Germany.
Groves' celebrations following his win over Eubank were immediately tempered somewhat by the fact that he dislocated his left shoulder during the final round of the contest.
The 30-year-old was barely able to throw a punch after he sustained the injury and left the arena with his arm in a sling. Groves underwent surgery on the affected shoulder soon after the fight - and this week tweeted to announce that the results of a post-operation scan had been positive.
"All united and good to proceed as planned! So a July 7th @WBSuperSeries final is possible provided a 1 month extension is granted," announced Groves on the social media platform this week.
However, as per The Sun, Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn has cast doubt on Groves' participation in the final - stating that WBSS organisers had contacted him about finding a potential replacement for Groves.
"They are asking people to step in, obviously waiting." Hearn told IFL TV.
Hearn then also suggested that Groves' recent tweet about the status of his injury could have been a last-ditch attempt to persuade WBSS chiefs not to replace him.
"I don't know whether George put out that tweet to say 'I'm alright, don't take it away from me'," speculated Hearn.
"It's interesting, I'm not sure what is going to happen there."
Such has been the success of the inaugural tournaments in both the super-middleweight and cruiserweight divisions that WBSS chiefs are keen to announce new editions of the concept, which are expected to begin later this year.
However, tournament bosses have a strong desire to wrap up the existing competitions before revealing any future plans - hence their inquiries interest in replacement fighters.
The super-middleweight final had been slated to take place on June 2 at London's 02 Arena. Groves was subsequently granted a one-month extension to this date as a result of his injury - pushing the proposed date back to early July.
Regrettably for Groves, though, it appears from Eddie Hearn's words as if this is as long as they are willing to postpone the event for.
In the event that Groves is unable to participate, the unbeaten Smith would surely have no shortage of challengers willing to step up and face him to decide the winner of the Ali Trophy.
Newly re-crowned IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale or beaten semi-finalist Eubank Jr would certainly be suitable replacements and would maintain the all-British feel of the final.
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