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Fedor Chudinov, George Groves to square off for vacant super middleweight title

Super middleweight contenders Fedor Chudinov and George Groves will meet for a vacant world title on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, promoter Nisse Sauerland of Team Sauerland and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing announced Friday.

The fight will take place as the co-feature on the card headlined by welterweight world titleholder Kell Brook's highly anticipated mandatory defense against Errol Spence Jr.

"I'm delighted to add another big world title fight to this show on May 27," Hearn said. "Since the Badou Jack defeat [in September 2015], George has worked his way back into position and is now on the verge of finally capturing that world title. It's a very hard fight against a very tough Chudinov, and I expect it to be an all-action affair. There will be 26,000 packed into Bramall Lane on May 27, and British fight fans can expect another epic night."

Groves (25-3, 18 KOs), 29, of England, will be fighting for a world title for the fourth time after three previous disappointments. In previous title shots, he was twice knocked out by Carl Froch and lost a split decision to Jack.

"Last year was a good year for me," Groves said. "I feel that the work I've been doing behind the scenes with [trainer] Shane [McGuigan] has really started to pay off, and I'm in a great position to capture the WBA title and push on from there.

"Fedor Chudinov is a good fighter. He proved that against Felix Sturm, but I honestly believe that I will have too much for him. It has always been my dream to become world champion, and now it's my time and nothing will stand in my way."

Groves goes into the fight following a tragic incident in his last bout on Nov. 18, when he won a lopsided decision in his hometown of London against Germany's Eduard Gutknecht. After the fight, Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room and was rushed to the hospital. He underwent surgery to relieve swelling on his brain and spent time in a coma. Although he is alive, Gutknecht is permanently injured and has been in a rehabilitation center with little chance to recover while his family struggles with mounting medical bills.

Former titleholder Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Russia, is getting a chance to reclaim the belt he lost by majority decision to Sturm in their February 2016 rematch in Germany. After the fight, Sturm tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol, but he vacated the title before he likely would have been stripped of the belt for the failed test.

"We're delighted to deliver George this world title fight on home soil," Sauerland said. "George will face a tough test from Fedor Chudinov, who has proved dangerous away from home with victories over Felix Sturm and Frank Buglioni, but George is an elite-level fighter who is only just reaching his prime, and we're confident on May 27 he will realize his dream and Britain will have a new world champion."

The WBA's sanctioning of Chudinov-Groves goes against the pledge of organization president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. to reduce the number of world titles it has in each division. Often crowning three titleholders per weight class -- a super, regular and interim titleholder -- the WBA currently recognizes Germany's Tyron Zeuge (20-0-1, 11 KOs) as its 168-pound titleholder after eliminating the other two. However, it will have two titleholders when the winner of Chudinov-Groves is awarded the super belt.