HUGE fights await George Groves. After Chris Eubank Jr destroyed Avni Yildirim in Stuttgart, the charismatic Brighton man will be Groves’ opponent in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series next year, if that is George wins his quarter-final. First he must beat Jamie Cox on Saturday (October 14) at Wembley Arena.
“There are significant carrots right in front of you,” Groves said. “There are three fights and I have to win it.
“I will beat everyone in the tournament so it’s about staying focused, staying motivated, staying healthy and going out and getting the job done.”
Groves, the WBA super-middleweight champion, hopes for as sensational a finish against Cox as Eubank delivered. “I feel I’m hitting really hard,” George suggested. “The expression I really like is they stay hit. There’s that slight pause. You’ve got that time then to load up the next one.”
He believes his world title victory over Dmitry Chudinov in March has put him in good stead for the Super Series competition. “I think I couldn’t have had a better fight as a warm up fight going into this tournament. If I go through the list no one else has. If Chudinov was in this tournament, I wouldn’t put it past him to make his way through, to give everyone nightmares. Super strong, great punch resistance, heavy-handed and obviously I got to him. I was in full control that whole fight and I was made to work for it, which is obviously what you want really. It put me in the best shape to come into this, with confidence in your form, your ability and everything. Jamie Cox decided after the draw to box a journeyman in Barcelona. I looked the guy up. He’s lost three times as many as he’s won. I’ve never ever had a fight like that as a pro, never. Even at the start I was boxing guys coming in, they might have an 0-1 record and they might even have a winning record but you know they’re not up to much but I’ve never fought a professional loser. I’m thinking at this stage of your career, you’ve just been handed a world title fight and your fight reaction is I need to get some rounds in and you go and try and blast out some fat pudding from somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It went points as well. So he’s probably disappointed,” Groves said.
“I’ve always been tested as a professional, from the start, wanting to progress. I think he turned pro before me and the fights I was having years ago were of a higher level than he’s ever had… At the moment I feel I’m boxing better than ever. He’s facing me at the worst possible time.”
Groves is an experienced veteran now, but he has not tired of the sport. “Andre Ward retired the other week and I thought, ‘Good on him,’” George said. “He’s obviously thought, ‘This is enough now’, and he has made that decision. I’m not ready to do that yet but I hope when I am I will be able to do the same thing.”
This World Boxing Super Series could make Groves the big name at 168lbs. “Since he [Ward] moved up out of the super-middleweight division, I feel he was the only star in it. I don’t think there are any stars in it, including myself. I think at the end of this tournament I might be on the verge of saying I’m one of the pound-for-pound best out there. If I need a couple more fights to get into that pound-for-pound list then I believe I’m capable of it and that probably will be the final goal, to get pound-for-pound top five, top 10,” George said.
The Englishman is very aware of the inherent dangers of the sport. He often thinks of Eduard Gutknecht, who was severely injured after the two boxed in November last year at the same arena George will return to on Saturday. “Yes, he does [enter his thoughts] frequently. I can’t do anything about my situation yet, I need to carry on boxing, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I just have to put it to the back of my mind,” George reflected. “It does make me reassess things. Not just me but my mum and dad, my wife, close friends and family. They will be happy when I say I’ve had enough and call it a day because of the risks that come with boxing. But it is what it is. I still need to box, I still want to box and until that changes, that’s what I’m going to be doing.”