WITH some satisfaction George Groves beat Jamie Cox on Saturday night to book a World Boxing Super Series semi-final with Chris Eubank Jr next year. But Groves, the WBA super-middleweight champion, had a stark warning for Eubank.
He said, “The Eubank Jr fight I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I always knew I had to get through the first fight but the way the draw’s going to go, obviously he won he was going to face me in the semi-finals. It’s a fight I’m very excited about. Eubank’s improved but he hasn’t boxed anyone at my level. I know if I box like I did tonight, he doesn’t stand a chance.”
Groves explained, “Eubank to his credit is a performer. He’s a performer first and a fighter second. He’s always aware of how he’s being perceived. So I think he will relish the big occasion. He was desperate to fight me. He knows fighting me makes it a big fight. Whether it dawns on him later that it’s not as easy to carry the pressure, and I have a lot of experience of that, so that definitely sets me on the upper hand but maybe it won’t. Maybe he’ll relish it.”
But the champion maintained that Eubank is unprofessional and will need to change to challenge him effectively. “He’s a strong lad, physically strong, happy to let his hands go but we’ll see if he changes,” Groves said. “He wraps his own hands. Professionals have someone wrap their hands. His dad gets in the ring… Will he conform, will he change? Will he decide you know what I’ve moved up another level, dad could you please give me some advice at the end of each round? And if he starts doing that, how do I interpret that? Has he had to change because he’s actually made a step up. Is someone else going to wrap his hands? Is he going to bring in better sparring than sparring light-welterweights? We’re going to have to wait and see. He’s going to have to make an awful lot of changes against me to be able to compete with me. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be all action, very exciting but if he boxes how he boxes he stands no chance against me. Because, as Jamie will probably point out, I’m far too clever for that.”
Groves added, “I’m in great form, I’m enjoying my boxing. Keep winning and I’ll keep going. My body’s responding well, I’m not taking big shots, I’m enjoying myself with Shane [McGuigan, his trainer.] I’m going to rest. That’s what athletes do when they prepare for real fights. I’m going to have a little break but I’m not going to overdo it at the buffet or anything like that. I’ll be in good shape come the start of camp.”