JAMIE COX is not the first opponent with whom George Groves has had a long history. On Saturday (October 14) Cox challenges Groves for his WBA super-middleweight at Wembley Arena. It’s a far cry from when they were teenagers training on a young England squad.
“He’s a bit older than me. We boxed in the youth team together, so under 19s, he then progressed to the seniors and boxed in the Commonwealth Games and turned professional. I was playing second fiddle to James DeGale and I couldn’t quite knock him off that top spot. He went and won a bronze and kept his place and ultimately won a gold medal at the Olympics,” Groves told Boxing News. Groves famously defeated DeGale once they turned professional. He does not harbour the same kind of animosity for Cox. “We used to room together, we trained together,” he said.
“I’ve boxed guys that I trained alongside before,” Groves added. “It’s more about business really. You’ve got to this point, it could be anyone. Absolutely anyone. I’m just going to get the job done.”
But he reckons there is a weakness in Cox which could manifest itself in their world championship fight.
“I remember he was a fit lad, good runner, fast, good power. Used to lose his head a lot as an amateur, if it wasn’t going his way, if he couldn’t knock someone out then he would always get beat,” Groves said. “John [Costello, Cox’s coach] seems very wound up, very, very wound up. He’s got a lot of people down here. I always worry for the opponent when they show up with a lot of entourage. There’s a difference between having actual working people with you, who have a role, a serious role. But when they show up and there’s lots of family and hangers on and stuff like that, it might not be but it seems like there’s a lot of people down here for the whole fight week. So if he’s taking comfort in familiarity having a lot of people around him, he’ll come unstuck very soon as soon as he steps through the ring and they all climb out.”
Groves believes Cox has a fundamental problem. That he’s simply too small for this super-middleweight world title fight. “As well as many other things I think he’s too small,” George said. “I think when I land the big heavy shots, I think he’s going to go. Obviously he’s unbeaten, he’s never been stopped before so we don’t know how good his chin is. I know he’s a fit lad, which will aid his power of recovery. I do think I hit too hard. I’m a big heavy handed super-middleweight, especially since getting back and working with Shane [McGuigan]. The previous coach he trained the power out of me. We never ever worked on punching hard. With Shane everything’s about punching hard. Since then we’ve had five fights, three knockouts and a world title. I’m in good form ready to go.”
Chris Eubank Jr entered the World Boxing Super Series in dazzling style as he halted Avni Yildirim in just three rounds. This fight is another WBSS quarter-final. Groves though feels no pressure to push for a sudden stoppage. “If I could pick between winning and potentially winning well, I’d just pick winning. I’d rather just be safe and get the job done, like everyone would in this tournament, because there is a lot at stake,” he says.
“Winning is all that matters. I’m sure whichever way I win, I’ll win well. I’m usually in entertaining fights. I don’t have to worry about being boring.”
Groves vs Cox tickets are available from £35 at axs.com. Or watch live on ITV Box Office, register at itvboxoffice.com