February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
James DeGale

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JIM McDONNELL – the long-time coach of James DeGale – has confirmed that his charge is back in the gym in preparation for his return to the ring in 2018.

In one of the biggest upsets of 2017, southpaw DeGale lost his IBF super-middleweight title to unheralded American Caleb Truax via majority decision in December. The defeat followed on from a bruising draw with Badou Jack 11 months previously, after which he required shoulder surgery.

In hindsight, McDonnell – and DeGale – feel that they took the Truax fight too soon after the 32-year-old Londoner’s operation, and would have been better off waiting until the year was out before getting back to action.

“We rushed back into it after surgery,” McDonnell said. “We should’ve waited until after Christmas for the fight. But listen, no excuses – it’s been and done.

“James is in full training now – he’s back sparring. He’s ready to get back to where he belongs, which is right at the top.”

While the dogged Truax undoubtedly performed better than expected against DeGale, McDonnell believes it was more a case of DeGale losing the fight, rather than Truax winning it.

“Truax is a competitive fighter, but his win was nothing to do with his style causing James problems,” McDonnell stated. “Let’s be real, he’s got some losses on his record [to Jermain Taylor, Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell]. If he’d have boxed the real James DeGale, the outcome would’ve been very different.”

McDonnell is confident that DeGale will “show how good he truly is” in his next appearance, which the trainer is hopeful will be against Truax.

McDonnell revealed: “The Truax rematch is the fight we’re looking for, so hopefully that happens. I’m sure James will put the wrong right. He looked great in sparring the other day against a kid who’s probably better than Truax. He said to me after the spar, ‘Jim, trust me. You watch what I do to Truax. You watch.’ He’s really focused on winning his world title back.”

February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
James J Corbett

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HERITAGE – Born on September 1, 1866, James J Corbett was the son of Irish immigrants, his father hailing from Ballinrobe, County Mayo.

BANK CLERK – As a teenager, Corbett worked at the San Francisco branch of the Nevada Bank as an assistant receiving teller. It was this job which gave Corbett a glimpse of the refined, classy lifestyle he himself would later become synonymous with.

BOXER – “Gentleman Jim” was clearly well educated outside of the ring, but it was at San Francisco’s Olympic Athletic Club, under the tutelage of an English professor named Walter Watson, where Corbett developed his boxing skills. Soon after turning professional he developed a local rivalry with a Jewish boxer named Joe Choynski, and after their first bout was halted by the police, Corbett claimed a 16th round knockout over his rival on a barge in the San Francisco Bay. An epic three hour, 61 round no contest with ‘the Black Prince, Peter Jackson, two years later in May 1891 then established James as the premier contender for John L Sullivan’s heavyweight title.

EXHIBITIONIST – Following his victory over Jackson, Corbett first shared a ring with Sullivan in a four-round exhibition match at San Francisco’s Grand Opera House while the champion was on a theatrical tour on June 26, 1891. It was this brief meeting, in formal evening wear, which gave Corbett a taste of what was to come.

HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION – Almost a year and a half after this meeting, Corbett’s manager, William A. Brady, secured his man a shot at the heavyweight title. It was to be the first fought under the Marquis of Queensberry Rules and would take place in a purpose-built 10,000 seat arena at the Olympic Club in New Orleans on September 7, 1892, for a winner-takes-all purse of $25,000. Over 80 years before Muhammad Ali allowed George Foreman to punch himself into exhaustion before going in for the kill, Corbett laid the foundations for this tactic by dodging Sullivan’s power punches and landing sharp, crisp counters to leave his rival spent as early as the 14th. In the 21st, Sullivan was there for the taking and Corbett claimed the title with a hard right to the champion’s jaw, followed by another to leave Sullivan face down on the canvas.READ Corbett’s account of the historic victory

INNOVATOR – Corbett’s triumph swayed the public toward the realisation that the heavyweight champion did not have to be rough and brutal, but could instead be decent and well-dressed. He also dispelled the myth that in order to be successful in the sport you had to possess a powerful punch, which increased boxing’s popularity as those who were scared of lacking the power to be competitive inside the ring were encouraged by Corbett’s technical approach.

BOXING COACH – Due to boxing being outlawed in most states at the time, not to mention the absence of boxing commissions to organise and regulate the sport, Corbett rarely defended his title and eventually lost it in his second defence to Bob Fitzsimmons on St Patrick’s Day 1897. Denied a rematch with Fitzsimmons and failing in two separate bids to recapture the crown against James J Jeffries, he retired with an 11-4-3 record. Along with a blossoming career as an actor, Corbett continued coaching at the Olympic Club.

ACTOR – Corbett was not the first athlete to have taken to the stage, but he stood out for being one of the few who could actually act. Most of his income after he retired came from his appearances in plays, one-man shows recounting his boxing career and in silent films.

BOOKS AND FILMS – His memoirs, The Roar of the Crowd: The Rise and Fall of a Champion were published in book form in 1925, and Errol Flynn played Corbett in the 1942 Warner Bros. film based on his life, Gentleman Jim.

DEATH AND HALL OF FAME – James J Corbett passed away from cancer at his home in Bayside, New York on February 18, 1933, in the arms of his wife, Vera. He was interred at the Cypress Hills cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. In 1990, Corbett was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in the Old Timer category.



February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
George Groves

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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GEORGE GROVES could miss the World Boxing Super Series final having been taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder suffered in his victory over Chris Eubank Jr in Manchester.

WBA world champion Groves won his semi-final by beating his fellow Briton on a unanimous points decision 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in perhaps the finest performance of the super middleweight’s career.

Though Eubank Jr battled a major cut above his eye sustained in the third round, Groves was forced to soldier on in the bout’s dying stages with a serious shoulder injury that not only hampered him on the night, but could also prevent him from facing either Callum Smith or Jurgen Brahmer in a final scheduled for June.

“I haven’t diagnosed it yet but it feels pretty sore,” Groves said in the ring afterwards.

“I wasn’t going to let anything beat me. I’ve boxed on with cuts, broken jaws, everything. Here, I wasn’t going to let any injury get me out. It was about who wanted it most I think and I obviously wanted it most.”

Groves went to hospital rather than attending the post-fight press conference, where his trainer Shane McGuigan elaborated on his fighter’s problem.

Chris Eubank Jr (left) was beaten by George Groves (right) (Peter Byrne/PA)
Chris Eubank Jr (left) was beaten by George Groves (right) (Peter Byrne/PA)

Asked if Groves’ shoulder had popped out, McGuigan replied: “He said it felt like that.

“I think it was 50 seconds into the last round. There was no towel going in, when you were so far up on points…well he should have been, I thought the scorecards were far too close.

“He was always going to be able to survive that last two minutes.”

On whether it could rule Groves out of the final, McGuigan added: “It’s a massive concern for the tournament. George Groves’ health is paramount.”

Promoter Kalle Sauerland insisted he would wait for the extent of Groves’ problem to be determined before deciding what would happen next, with the beaten Eubank Jr also a possible stand-in.

“We have a scope for when the tournament has to be completed; I won’t go into details on that now, but we’ll wait until Monday,” he said.

“We’re hopeful. With those sort of injuries, it can be that he can train very, very quickly again if it’s just a case of it popping out. No-one knows if there’s any damage until the scans have been analysed by experts.

“The way he boxed and tied him up just with the right hand and stole time was, for me, an heroic ending to the fight.”

Chris Eubank was left bleeding after a cut above his eye (Peter Byrne/PA)
Chris Eubank was left bleeding after a cut above his eye (Peter Byrne/PA)

Eubank Jr had hoped this much anticipated domestic contest would elevate him out of his famous father Chris Eubank’s shadow but Groves, the naturally bigger fighter, proved to be too shrewd having previously fought the likes of Carl Froch and Badou Jack.

Though it was bloody and brutal, it was not one for the purists, with Eubank Jr wildly swinging in an attempt to turn the tide.

Afterwards he bemoaned the cut he sustained from an accidental clash of heads.

“I couldn’t see out of my right eye for pretty much most of the fight,” Eubank Jr revealed.

“That affected my style. I had to resort to loading up because every time he would move to my right I couldn’t see him. I would just throw big punches.”

Eubank Jr’s father offered a frank assessment of his son’s performance.

“He didn’t perform,” Chris Eubank said.

“He’s a lot better than what you saw. He was just loading up, that’s the cold hard truth of it. He’s a good fighter but he didn’t show it.”

February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
George Groves Chris Eubank Jr

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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GEORGE GROVES produced one of the finest displays of his career to advance to the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight final by beating fellow Briton Chris Eubank Jr on a unanimous points decision.

The 29-year-old’s career has previously been remembered for high-profile defeats – two to Carl Froch and one each to Badou Jack and James DeGale -but Groves proved too shrewd and too accomplished for bookies favourite Eubank Jr at the Manchester Arena.

A cut above Eubank Jr’s right eye sustained in the third round hampered him for the remainder of the contest and though his record of never being stopped in the professional ranks continued, the judges awarded the fight 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in Groves’ favour.

George Groves won on a unanimous points decision
George Groves won on a unanimous points decision (Peter Byrne/PA)

Eubank Jr displayed courage throughout and a strong chin, a trait he appears to have inherited from his father Chris Eubank, but his shots were thrown with more careless abandon while Groves used distance wisely to pick and choose his moments.

Eubank Jr was not knocked down, though Groves was frustrated there was no count when his opponent fell to his knee in the 10th round and the cut he sustained may have forced him to try and change the fight’s course with a wilder approach.

Groves, who has added Eubank Jr’s IBO title to his WBA belt, appeared to be suffering with a shoulder injury at the end of the fight, which could hamper his preparations for the June final of the World Boxing Super Series, where he will face either Callum Smith or Jurgen Brahmer.

This was one of the most highly-anticipated domestic bouts for years and though it was not one for the purists, it was, at times, bloody and brutal.

Eubank Jr had hoped this contest would ensure he could emerge from his famous father’s shadow, yet he looked in trouble as soon as a bad cut above his right eye emerged in the third round, seemingly from an accidental clash of heads.

Groves’ big fight experience looked to be paying off as he kept his foe at distance and landed his shots while Eubank Jr looked to rush at him.

His eye wound was reopened in the fifth round, with Eubank Jr mindful of it as he wiped at it.

Groves looked more at ease without landing big shots on Eubank Jr, who had never been knocked down in his previous 27 professional bouts.

The Brighton-based boxer continued to let fly and Groves proved too clever, bypassing one hook as Eubank Jr fell into the ropes.

Chris Eubank suffered a bad cut above his right eye
Chris Eubank suffered a bad cut above his right eye (Peter Byrne/PA)

In the eighth round, Groves established further control with a succession of left-hand jabs that swayed his opponent and left him smiling as he walked back to his corner after the bell.

Eubank Jr’s cut was again opened up and the front and back of referee Michael Alexander’s shirt was left caked in blood, with the IBO champion beginning to tire as Groves hovered over him looking to finish him off.

Groves was frustrated that Eubank Jr falling to his knees was not counted as a knockdown but at the point it just appeared a matter of time.

The theory that Groves, as the natural super middleweight, would tire later on was being disproved as it was Eubank Jr using the ropes to catch his breath.

Yet, to his immense credit, he was still hanging in there and in the latter rounds constantly seeking to land a huge punch that might change the contest.

Having elicited cheers from the crowd with an erratically errant shot, Eubank Jr somehow mustered more energy to unload on Groves and finally one of his right-hand bombs from range landed.

Yet Groves weathered the late storm and was later confirmed as the victor by the judges.

February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
World Boxing Super Series

World Boxing Super Series

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AFTER Chris Eubank Jr’s collision with George Groves at the Manchester arena on Saturday and Callum Smith’s February 24 semi-final with Juergen Braehmer, the super-middleweight final of the World Boxing Super Series is targeted to take place on June 2 at the O2 arena in London (there is some limited room manoeuvre on the date depending on George Groves’ recovery from injury).

“It’s something special. To see the trophy being lifted for the first time after four years of working on the project and the year now on the road with it,” promoter Kalle Sauerland said.

A new season of the World Boxing Super Series will take place. The draw in fact is expected to be held the following week. Two weight classes will definitely feature and a potentially a third. Likely divisions could be bantamweight, lightweight and light-heavyweight.

“We’re looking first of all at two, but a third one’s on the agenda. Definitely two but potentially a third,” Sauerland told Boxing News. “We’ll announce a lighter weight first; bantam, feather, lightweight, super-fly, we’re looking at those weights.”

“They’re all talking about going to light-heavy as well,” he added. “The light-heavies and, hey, [maybe] cruisers, again.”

World Boxing Super Series

Sauerland continued, “I think the first season was about me being confident of getting names in. I think if you look at the reaction, most of those guys want to go in. People who don’t go in the tournament, they’re going to be a bit found out now aren’t they? I’ll name and shame. I’m terrible like that. [Anthony] Dirrell, [David] Benavidez are the biggest ones. [James] DeGale, to be fair we were going to talk to DeGale and then he got injured. We were going to talk to him about the tournament, he would have been a great addition but then he got injured. So c’est la vie.”

He added, “The guys who are confident of winning they also know that’s their fight calendar.

The World Boxing Super Series is looking at involving big names in the next edition, like Raymundo Beltran, Jorge Linares and even Vasyl Lomachenko. “Lightweight from a UK perspective, you’ve got [Luke] Campbell, [Anthony] Crolla, [Ricky] Burns. You look across obviously in America, Linares, Beltran, Loma,” Sauerland said. “There are some interesting names. For me, if he wouldn’t go in, we’d still make a great tournament.”

At bantamweight they’d also look at UK boxers, like Ryan Burnett, Jamie McDonnell and Paul Butler.

“If people don’t want to go in, they don’t want to go in. You can’t force them. They’d earn more money in the tournament than anywhere else. They’d have a better platform than anywhere else, get more prestige,” Sauerland concluded.

February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
Chris Eubank

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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CHRIS EUBANK JR could not overcome George Groves in their World Boxing Super Series semi-final. The latter, the WBA super-middleweight champion, won a clear unanimous decision.

Chris Eubank Snr, the father and mentor to Chris Junior and often a controversial figure in the build up to the fight, had to admit that he thought it was a fair result. He reflected on his son’s performance. “He didn’t peform. He didn’t perform. He’s a lot better than what you saw tonight because he was just loading up. That’s the cold, hard truth of it. He’s a good fighter but he didn’t show it. No combinations, just power. You live and learn. George fought the precisely correct fight. Always standing up, always feinting,” Eubank Senior said.

“And actually manhandled him fairly well. We congratulate him.”

Chris Eubank Jr

Ronnie Davies, Eubank Jr’s trainer, also gave his verdict on the fight. “It wasn’t Chris in there tonight. Following him about instead of closing him down. I kept saying close him down, close him down, which he didn’t do. Groves fought tactically a great fight and he [Junior] lost the fight,” Davies said.

“He shouldn’t have done. But he did.”

February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
Chris Eubank Jr

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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A bruised, bloodied Chris Eubank Jr appeared chastened, to a qualified degree, after suffering a unanimous points loss to George Groves at the Manchester Arena.

“Of course I’m disappointed. This is boxing. You don’t always get things your own way. It was a great fight. I felt I did enough in the later rounds to nick it. But George had the right gameplan. He performed,” Eubank conceded. “So full credit to him.”

Eubank couldn’t ignore Groves’ talents as a boxer but did point to Groves’ greater size (Eubank is a natural middleweight) and the cut Eubank suffered early on in the fight.

“Did I underestimate him? A little bit maybe. The size did come into it. I felt the size difference,” Eubank said. “He did what he had to do. I was getting a lot success inside. His jab, he caught me with a few jabs here and there. I guess that was enough to win some of the rounds.”

He also claimed, “George head butted me a lot in that fight. I don’t know he didn’t get points taken away from him. This is one on one combat, you do what you have to do. That’s what he did.”

Chris Eubank Jr

Eubank maintains that cut significantly hampered him, and reckons it came from a clash of heads. “I couldn’t see out of my right eye for pretty much most of the fight. It affected my style. I had to resort to loading up because every time he moved to my right, I couldn’t see him. So I would just throw big punches. Tactics is a big thing. His tactics, he did the right thing. He negated some on my work early on,” Junior said.

“But I did feel that towards the end, the later rounds I was hitting him with a lot of shots and hurting him. It is what it is.”