- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Super middleweight contender George Groves of England will next fight for the vacant European title, but what he really wants is a world title fight against the winner of the rematch between titleholder Arthur Abraham and former titlist Robert Stieglitz.
Groves faces Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (22-1, 13 KOs) for the European title on March 16 (Epix and EpixHD.com in the U.S., BoxNation in the U.K.) at Wembley Arena in London while Abraham and Stieglitz meet in a rematch March 23 in Germany.
Last March, Groves (16-0, 12 KOs) was supposed to challenge then-titleholder Stieglitz – who lost the belt to Abraham in their first meeting – but withdrew because of an injury.
“With me being No. 1 the WBO that is the direction that I’m going in and I’ve got to keep an eye on these guys as I’ll be looking to fight the winner next,” Groves said. “I’m focused on the fight in hand first though, against Ndiaye and winning the European title. But once I come through that I want to be in Germany to see Abraham against Stieglitz up close. It was a close fight last time and Abraham won on strength. I think maybe he’ll win on endurance this time. It’s always tough to beat a fighter in a return once you’ve beaten him, but I’ll go with the pedigree and that’s Abraham, although Stieglitz will have hometown advantage this time, which may help him.”
Groves is still disappointed he had to withdraw from the fight with Stieglitz last year.
“I was gutted when I couldn’t take on Stieglitz,” he said. “I’m confident I would have beaten him as Abraham went on to do and I’d be the world champion now, but my time will come. Last year was a tough one with injuries, although I got in two valuable learning fights, a good win in America that enhanced my reputation and fan base and then probably the best win of my career over the experienced Glen Johnson in December. This is a great start to the year for me with a European title fight and then a potential world title fight next. The super middleweight division is stacked with talent and I’m eager to get in the mix.”
In the main event of the March 16 card, lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns (35-2, 10 KOs) and Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs) meet in a title unification bout. Also on the card, light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) will make a mandatory defense against Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs) and heavyweight Dereck Chisora (15-4, 9 KOs) will be in action.