Following his withdrawal from a May 5 bout with WBO super middleweight titleholder Robert Stieglitz, George Groves has lost his spot as the sanctioning body's mandatory challenger, which might actually set a record for least amount of time as a mandatory challenger, and BoxingScene.com reports that Arthur Abraham is the new No. 1 contender and Stieglitz's new mandatory.
This has all been an enormous mess for a while now. Stieglitz was set to face Mikkel Kessler last year, after Sauerland Event wore a slutty dress and flirted with the WBO and convinced them to install Kessler as the mandatory challenger following Kessler's exceptionally easy win over Mehdi Bouadla last June. Kessler hasn't fought since then, and his November date with Stieglitz fell through due to a hand injury.
About a month after the fight was postponed, it was rescheduled for April 14 in Denmark. That seemed a pretty damn long time to wait, so Stieglitz took a tune-up fight in January, beating Henry Weber. He shared the bill that night with Abraham, who defeated Pablo Farias.
Abraham (34-3, 27 KO) fought again on March 31, beating Piotr Wilczewski via a wider-than-deserved batch of judges' cards.
Besides all of that, Kessler again bailed on the Stieglitz fight, this time to move up to 175 and face Allan Green on May 19, which meant that the WBO installed Groves as mandatory challenger. Groves (14-0, 11 KO) then came up with a very timely injury and had to cancel his fight with Kenny Anderson, which didn't go over well.
Now, Groves is injured again, and he's out. The British Board apparently has him marked down to fight Kenny Anderson on June 30 now. Meanwhile, Stieglitz vs Abraham almost surely won't be on that May 5 show, since it's all of two weeks away and Abraham just fought three weeks ago, so that will get its own date.
And Stieglitz is still set to fight on May 5. The WBO requires someone from the top 15, but as Terence Dooley points out, there are easy ways to get around that, and Kenny Anderson is out there saying he wants the fight with Stieglitz. Screw it, why not? He's no worse a title challenger than Henry Weber was. But who knows what the hell's going on now? Poor Robert Stieglitz never knows if he's coming or going at this point.
Got all that? Kessler's out and fighting Green, Groves is out and apparently fighting Anderson again, Anderson wants to fight Stieglitz, and Stieglitz now has to fight Abraham sometime.