Despite the late January/early February time slot for Groves Vs Eubank Jr being the coldest time of the year in the UK, everybody involved including Kalle Sauerland, George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr are clearly fixated on staging the contest in one of the countries football stadiums. Here’s a shortlist of favourites to host the Super Middleweight encounter.
1 – Stamford Bridge
The most obvious choice, it being the home to George Groves’ beloved Chelsea Football Club. Stamford Bridge holds a capacity of just over 41,000, yet has an intimate feel to place. Although half the size of Wembley, the noise and atmosphere could go down in the history books, giving it shades of the Eubank Vs Watson fight at White Hart Lane in 1991. The bowl-like feel to Stamford Bridge along with an achievable amount of seats to fill would make it the preferred choice for the fight. However the Premier League season being in full flow and the deep pockets of owner Roman Ambramovich could scupper the chances of Groves Vs Eubank Jr at Stamford Bridge. “Football Clubs have so much money compared to what they used to have, they aren’t as keen as the might have been!” Kalle Sauerland told IFL TV.
2 – Craven Cottage
The home of Fulham Football Club was mentioned by Kalle Sauerland immediately after the Groves Vs Cox fight this past Saturday. “Fulham is a good one. I like Fulham!” Said Kalle Sauerland, as Craven Cottage emerged as a potential host for Groves Vs Eubank Jr. The 25,700 capacity stadium in west London may be more achievable then that of local rivals Chelsea, due to the fact Fulham F.C ply their trade in the 2nd tier of English football; The Championship. Due to Fulham being much less wealthy than Chelsea F.C, the chances of Groves Vs Eubank Jr at Craven Cottage could be much more realistic than staging the fight at Stamford Bridge. The board at Fulham F.C would likely be very excited about the lucrative financial implications of hosting the fight, especially considering Fulham’s considerably lower income to that of Chelsea F.C. Personally I do think it’s the wrong choice, considering we are in a country jam packed with high quality football stadiums. Fulham F.C is known for having the quietest fans in the country, which could be attributed by the structure of Craven Cottage. The tiers are very low and gaps still exist in the corners of the stadium, allowing noise to escape.
3 – Amex Stadium
The home of Brighton and Hove Albion could prove more than worthy as a venue for the all British World title fight. The state of the art stadium built in 2008 is situated in Eubank Jr’s home town of Brighton and is easily accessible from London. With a capacity of over 30,000, Brighton and Hove Albion have always struggled to get a full crowd to watch the one of the premier league’s newest teams. An opportunity to stage one of the biggest British fights in recent history could prove too lucrative to turn down by a club that is trying to grow and establish itself in England’s highest football league. With Brighton being a long way behind the likes of football power houses Chelsea, The Amex could emerge as one of the favourites.
4 – Millenuim Stadium
The national stadium of Wales in Cardiff is an obvious choice for the shortlist. It has a history of hosting big events including Calzaghe Vs Kessler and the upcoming Joshua Vs Takam. The only thing that would concern me is managing to fill 74,500 seats, especially it being a long distance to both fighters’ home towns. However, The Millennium Stadium acted as the English national Stadium between 2001 and 2007 whilst Wembley was under re-construction and has proved a popular destination for concert goers and football fans alike. Cardiff having emerged as one of the UK’s most popular weekend destinations in recent years, the Welsh capital has drawn fans from all over the UK, regularly hosting an array of high class sporting occasions. The Millennium Stadium not being a home to any full time football or rugby clubs could give the venue extra legs to land Groves Vs Eubank Jr compared to any other stadium in the UK. Unlike the other options possibly available, The Millennium Stadium also boasts a retractable roof, eliminating the fear of the British winter weather.
Other venues such as; Arsenal’s 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium have been also mentioned. Unlikely in my opinion as George Groves being a Chelsea fan would likely be deterred by the idea. One thing that does look probable is that this fight will take place at a football stadium. Groves, Eubank and Kalle Sauerland clearly want to continue the tradition of the football stadium fight, having proved so popular with the likes of Bruno Vs McCall, Eubank Vs Benn, Ali Vs Hooper and Froch Vs Groves 2.
By Adam Noble-Forcey