The first round matchups are set for the super middleweight portion of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
All four matchups were formed during the Live Draft Gala, which was held Saturday evening (local time) in Monaco.
As the top seed, reigning super middleweight titlist George Groves was granted the honors of being first to choose his opponent. Not that there was a soft touch from which to choose, the Brit wasn't interested in the cherry-picking route as he selected domestic rival and unbeaten contender Jamie Cox.
"Me & Jamie are old buddies. I quite fancy a bit of a domestic dustup," Groves said when asked why he went that route. "I know he wanted to fight me. I'm presenting him with the opportunity of a lifetime, to fight for the world title."
The compliment came with a bit of a back hand, however.
"It was a strategic move... get the easiest fight out of the way," Groves quipped.
To his credit, his opponent played along but with a warning shot of his own.
"Time to bury a seed," Cox said of the chance to bump off the number-one seed in the tournament.
One boxer who passed on a title opportunity to join the series was another unbeaten Brit in Callum Smith. A crack at Anthony Dirrell for a vacant title was in the works, only for the former titlist from America to pass on an invitation to join the tournament—falling in line with his brother Andre, who was among the early dropouts from the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic.
That said, Dirrell will still fight for a vacant title as he is in talks with unbeaten David Benavidez. Meanwhile, Smith will have the opportunity to earn a mandatory title shot, as the WBC has placed its Diamond belt at stake for his opening round matchup versus Erik Skoglund, a bit of a surprise pick—even to one entrant whom believed he would be the first to be chosen by one of the top seeds.
"I have to admit, I thought they'd look at me and pick me either first or second," said Rob Brant, the lone U.S.-born participant in either bracket (Super Middleweight and Crusierweight) who will face former light heavyweight titlist and #4 seed Jürgen Brähmer.
The number-three seed will be determined by the winner of the July 15 clash between Chris Eubank Jr. and Arthur Abraham. As their bout takes place in London and breaking training camp to attend a draft in Monaco would be detrimental, in their place was Chris Eubank Sr. whom chose Avni Yildirim as the opponent awaiting the July 15 victor.
"Once my son gets past Arthur Abraham, (Yildirim) will bring my son the same fight," Eubank Jr. said of the choice, completely dismissing any chance of Abraham winning next week.
For what it's worth, the chosen opponent seems to agree.
"It is my time. Good luck to your son, Chris." Yildirim quipped to Eubank Sr.
All bouts are due to take place in September and October. The tournament is single-elimination format, which simply means win or go home.
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT ROUND ONE MATCHUPS
#1 George Groves vs. Jamie Cox
#2 Callum Smith vs. Erik Skoglund
#3 Chris Eubank Jr./Arthur Abraham winner vs. Avni Yildirim
#4 Jürgen Brähmer vs. Rob Brant