TONIGHT (Saturday February 17) at Manchester Arena, the highly anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-final between WBA super-middleweight king George Groves and challenger Chris Eubank Jr takes place. Ahead of the mouth-watering British superfight, we take a look at five revealing moments from Groves’ career so far.
November 13, 2010 – Dropped by Anderson
In the first defence of his Commonwealth super-middleweight title, Groves faced off against gritty Scot Kenny Anderson, who had taken the fight at just two weeks’ notice. Despite eventually stopping Anderson in six rounds, Groves hit the deck in the third. Ever since – rightly or wrongly – some observers have labelled Groves’ chin as suspect.
May 21, 2011 – Tactical masterclass versus DeGale
Groves had famously beaten James DeGale when they were both amateurs, and he repeated the trick when they met as pros. With DeGale’s British super-middle strap on the line, as well as Groves’ Commonwealth crown, the usually attack-minded Groves surprised everyone with his approach – opting to box in a highly tactical, counter-punching style. His methods paid dividends, as he secured a majority points win. The victory illustrated his impressive adaptability in the ring.
November 23, 2013 – Flooring Froch
He may not have got the job done in the end, but Groves nonetheless came out of his first fight with Carl Froch with his reputation well and truly enhanced. For many, the abiding memory of that memorable clash is not Groves being controversially halted in the ninth round. Instead, it is the iron-jawed then-world super-middleweight champion shockingly being sent tumbling to the canvas after a booming right hand from Groves in the opener. It was the perfect example of Groves’ pure power.
September 12, 2015 – Fading against Jack
In his initial bout with Froch, Groves had started like a steam train, before tapering off slightly as the contest moved into its second half. Question marks surrounding Groves’ stamina surfaced again when he surrendered a lead during a challenge to Badou Jack for the WBC super-middleweight title. A split decision loss in his third world title try was a hammer blow to Groves.
May 27, 2017 – Finally becoming a world champion
Following his defeats to Froch (twice) and Jack, the road back to world title contention seemed a long way away for Groves. In fact, it took four victories and almost 21 months for Groves to get another crack at world honours. Following his previous setbacks, as well as the tragedy of seriously injuring Eduard Gutknecht during their fight, Groves displayed immense mental strength to put all of this to one side against Fedor Chudinov. The tough Russian advanced relentlessly, but Groves maintained his composure, before unleashing a volley of blows to stop his opponent in the sixth session. The WBA super-middleweight title was no longer vacant. It now belonged to Groves.