FREQUENTLY Chris Eubank Jr has alluded to past sparring sessions with George Groves, suggesting he had the upper hand then and will do so again when they fight for the WBA super-middleweight title in February 2018.
Groves however had a point of his own to make about their spar with one another. “I was in a development phase where I used to work with Adam Booth and we used to have sparring sessions where he might say to me, just get your right hand off today. And if I got the right hand off that was a success. I’ve never, ever sparred to win or lose rounds maybe he was different,” Groves said.
“I think the fundamental thing he needs to remember is he was a sparring partner, I brought him to my gym, I paid him, I put him up, I looked after him. He gave me good work. But that was all he ever was. He knows that. Because up until now he’s never brought up sparring. Maybe there are a few rounds out there on his videotape that will give him a bit of confidence because I did a long run that morning or I had a late night the night before or I was cutting weight or whatever else.
He had a more specific warning for Eubank Junior. “I’ve seen Eubank at his best in sparring and it’s certainly nothing for me to worry about. You can’t get a realistic outcome from sparring because you spar in 18, 16 ounce gloves with a big headguard on, usually tired halfway through camp,” Groves said.
“He didn’t experience me on weight, fully hydrated, a lot bigger than him, fully fit, 10 ounce gloves on. I hit hard. He throws good uppercuts, but he hasn’t learned to throw a jab, falls over the front foot, leaves so many openings that I will be able to take advantage of him. He’s effective if you give him that static target. If you become a punch bag, he comes into his own. But he’s going to have work out how he’s going to get me to stand still. How’s he going to back me up into the ropes. How’s he going to impose himself? Is he physically big enough or strong enough? Does he have the ability to box his way into those positions? Does he have the ability to even win the exchanges when we’re in close? I don’t think so.”
Groves noted, “To his credit he is ignorant enough to keep throwing punches. There’s guys out there that have done that and succeeded with it. Carl Froch, a fantastic fighter at doing that, he would happily take one or two to get himself in and just keep punching. Those guys are dangerous because they might slip a couple through if you hold your feet.”