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Groves v Chudinov world title fight confirmed, planned for Russia

Groves v Chudinov world title fight confirmed, planned for Russia
The World Boxing Association (WBA) world super-middleweight title fight between Russian boxer Fedor Chudinov and Briton George Groves is planned to take place in Russia in February.

“The bout will most probably take place in February. We are doing everything in our power so the bout is held in Russia,” said Chudinov promoter Umar Kremlev, TASS reported.

Both Groves and promoter brothers Kalle and Nisse Sauerland tweeted their delight about the fight being announced. Negotiations for the showdown will go on until January 5.

The fight will be Groves’ fourth attempt at a world title, while Chudinov will be bidding to win back the title he lost against German fighter Felix Sturm in February.

Sturm, 37, has since relinquished the title following allegations of doping, after testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol following the bout.

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The WBA subsequently decided to make Chudinov mandatory challenger to the vacant belt.

Londoner Groves, who boasts a record of 25 wins and three losses, with 18 knockout victories, beat German Eduard Gutknecht for the WBA International title in his last fight in his hometown Wembley Arena on November 18.

Kazakh-born Gutknecht suffered a grotesquely swollen eye in the latter stages of the fight, and later fell ill in the dressing room and was taken to hospital.

The 34-year-old underwent surgery soon after and has since been flown back to Germany, where he remains in a coma.

His condition has been described as stable but critical. Groves in response issued a heartfelt statement on Gutknecht’s condition and set up a funding page and auction to raise money so his family could be with him during his stay in hospital.

Groves called off a post-fight press-conference following the news about Gutknecht's condition. 

The three losses on Groves’ professional card have all come at world title level: twice to retired champ Carl Froch and once to Swede Badou Jack, who next fights Groves’ arch rival and Olympic champion James DeGale. Groves beat DeGale by majority decision in 2011.

Chudinov, 29, is already a one-time world champion. The Russian won the same belt from Sturm in 2015 in only his 13th fight. He went on to defend it against another Briton in Frank Buglioni in London before losing it in a rematch to Sturm.

He now has a record of 14 wins from 15 fights, with 10 of those wins coming within the distance.