GEORGE GROVES is targeting Sakio Bika’s WBC super-middleweight title as he makes his return after being flattened by Carl Froch six weeks ago. The Londoner takes on France’s European champion Christopher Rebrasse in a final eliminator for the green belt on September 20 at the SSE Arena (Wembley Arena), spitting distance from the scene of his May 31 defeat. The WBC’s lightly-regarded Silver title will also be on the line.
Groves’ searing confidence helped to turn his rivalry with Froch into one of British boxing history’s most engrossing grudges, and the 26-year-old insists those two defeats – one controversial, the other emphatic – have done nothing to affect it.
“Last time I was here it didn’t quite go the way I hoped,” he said with a smile about that Wembley Stadium sequel. “But we’re back on the road and the journey will continue. Win this fight and I’m right back in the picture, and I believe I will be world champion in the very near future.”
Groves said he was “very unlucky” on both occasions against Froch.
“Ultimately I approach my boxing as a high stakes gambler. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes you win big. I haven’t changed. I will be world champion. I sold the last fight [with Froch], I packaged it. I won’t get credit for that because I got knocked out, so that’s fair enough. I felt we were in full control but one punch ended my hopes.”
The morning after being clattered in the eighth round, Groves sent his new promoter Kalle Sauerland a 4am text asking him to plot a route back. This fight against Rebrasse, ranked No.3 by both the IBF and the WBC, was signed just 35 minutes before Tuesday’s (July 8) press conference to announce it. This will be the powerful German outfit’s debut show in the UK.
“George has proved himself as one of the most exciting super-middleweights on the planet,” Kalle said. “We know we will take him to the very top. We were looking at the quickest route possible to get George a world title shot and we’re grateful to the WBC for recognising what he’s done.”
The sun-kissed Rebrasse, 22-2-3 (6), interrupted a holiday in Bulgaria to attend the presser, and appeared without a care in the world as he promised to train hard and win.
British heavyweight David Price, also under the Sauerland banner, might feature on an undercard that is currently under construction.