WBA SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT champion George Groves fired the first salvo in the pre-fight build-up after selecting a bout with Swindon’s Jamie Cox for his quarter-final in the World Boxing Super Series.

Seeded Groves picked former Commonwealth Games champion Cox, who is unbeaten professionally during a live Draft Gala at Monaco’s famed Grimaldi Forum on Saturday night, with the pair likely to meet in September and October.

The inaugural knockout series features eight fighters at both super-middleweight and cruiserweight, with winners of which will earn a share of the $50m prize and take the Muhammad Ali trophy.

Groves’ decision means he is also putting his current world title belt on the line against the Wiltshire man but the Londoner insisted his selection of Cox was “strategic.’’

Both fighters have been under the guidance of Swindon boxing trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick at various stages of their career and Groves said: “Me and Jamie are old buddies. We’ve known each other a long time now.

“I quite fancied a bit of a domestic dust up. I wanted to pick my countryman. I know he wanted to fight me.

“I’ve provided him a great opportunity. He’s fighting for a world title.

“It’s also a strategic move. It’s a long tournament so I picked the easy guy first.’’ Cox himself admitted: “I was looking forward to getting a UK dust up.

“George picked me and that makes for a great fight. It’s time to bury a seed!’’ The last-eight winners will progress into the semi-finals, which are due to be staged early in the new year, with the last two standing going toe-to-toe in May next year for the trophy.

Cox has won all 23of his professional bouts, while Groves has a record of 26 wins and three defeats from his 29 fights.

Elsewhere in the super-middleweight section of the series, Britain’s Callum Smith chose to fight Sweden’s unbeaten Erik Skoglund, while Chris Eubank Jr will also take part if he beats Arthur Abraham next weekend. He would face Turkey’s Avni Yildirim.

The other quarter final sees Jurgen Brahmer take on Rob Brant.