GEORGE GROVES has revealed his admiration for British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell and predicted an explosive, back-and-forth encounter when ‘Bang Bang’ meets Chris Eubank Jr. on March 26 at The SSE Arena, Wembley, live on Channel 5.
Groves and Blackwell have sparred many rounds together in the last three weeks and the world-class super-middleweight came away from those sessions with nothing but the utmost respect for the warrior from Trowbridge.
“I’ve always been impressed by Blackwell when watching him fight,” Groves said. “He’s a fighter who doesn’t seem afraid of anything; a lot of fighters say they’ll fight anyone, but he really means it. He loves a challenge.
“He boxed on one of my undercards against Billy Joe Saunders, pushed him really close, and I’ve kept an eye on him ever since. But it was nice to finally do some sparring with him because I’d heard a lot about his sparring sessions over the years – he’s got quite the reputation.
“Obviously he’s a fit lad with a great work-rate. He throws loads of punches. And, over the course of three sparring sessions, he showed he was a very good fighter. He punches well inside, he finds angles that don’t seem to be there, and he is happy to put it on you from the word ‘go’. He’s a real physical presence in the ring.”
In addition to rounds spent in the company of Blackwell, 27-year-old Groves has also sparred many times with Eubank Jr., which puts him in an ideal position to analyse their highly-anticipated March 26 showdown.
“Eubank Jr. hadn’t had many pro fights when we sparred, so he’s probably a lot better now than he was back then, but he always gave me great work,” said Groves. “He has a great engine, throws punches in bunches and he’s physically and mentally very tough. He takes some breaking. He has sparred everyone, he has sparred bigger guys and he always gives a good account of himself.
“This fight between Blackwell and Eubank Jr. can only be a great fight. It’s fascinating and it’s hard to call.
“You say before every fight that you want to stamp your authority on the fight and go from there, but there could be some real swings and momentum changes throughout the twelve rounds these two share. I don’t see a scenario where one guy gets out in front and then just stays there and dominates. I think both will have their moments.
“They’ve both got enough power to hurt each other and they both possess a work-rate that can break hearts. They’re very fit and athletic lads. It should be an all-action affair for as long as it lasts.”