Stamford Bridge won't host Groves and Eubank Jr. in January - sources
LONDON -- Chelsea have ruled out the possibility of hosting a fight between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. at Stamford Bridge in January, sources have told ESPN FC.
Groves, a lifelong Chelsea fan, will face Eubank Jr. in the semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series on Jan. 20 if he defeats Jamie Cox at Wembley Arena on Saturday and has reportedly long harboured a desire to fight at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking after Eubank Jr.'s knockout victory over Avni Yildirim last Saturday, tournament promoter Kalle Sauerland claimed that "exploratory discussions" had been held with Chelsea and several other London clubs over the possibility of staging a British superfight against Groves.
Stamford Bridge will be vacant on Jan. 20 as Chelsea take on Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium, but sources have told ESPN FC that the Premier League champions have not been formally approached about hosting the fight and would not consider doing so during the season.
Chelsea's primary concern is the potentially detrimental effect that transforming Stamford Bridge into a boxing venue and back could have on the pitch, with the club wary of agreeing to anything that might make an already challenging campaign more difficult for Antonio Conte and his players.
Unlike other club stadiums in London, any non-football use of Stamford Bridge would also have to be signed off by Chelsea Pitch Owners, the supporter-run company that owns the freehold to the ground -- though sources have told ESPN FC that there would be no objection in principle to hosting a Groves fight.
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.