NINETY-THOUSAND fans crammed in to Wembley Stadium last month to watch Anthony Joshua defeat Wladimir Klitschko, but George Groves was not one of them.
The Londoner considered going to the fight, which surpassed the 80,000-strong crowd which his 2014 rematch with Carl Froch drew to the same stadium.
In the end, he decided to take it in from the comfort of his home and get a sense of how fans would have witnessed his fight with Froch.
“I watched it at home. My lawyer had a couple of tickets and he invited me along, but I’ve got to be honest I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel going back to Wembley,” he said.
“Part of me was like, in my mind I was going and I was waiting for Eddie [Hearn, Joshua’s promoter] to call and invite me, he didn’t. I was waiting for Sky to call and invite me, they didn’t. So I thought ‘I’m not just slipping in’.
“What I wanted to ultimately do was go there and absorb it for myself but I though I’m not going to do that because I’m going to be chatting to everyone. Everyone’s going to be asking ‘what’s it like, d’you remember this.’ So I thought, I know what I’ll do, I’ll watch it from home and see what everyone else would have seen. It was great.”
While Froch was rather notoriously attached to the attendance figure for his second win over Groves, ‘Saint’ George admits he did not feel the same and always felt it would be topped sooner or later.
“I didn’t anchor myself to a record,” he continued.
“It didn’t really mean that much. If I had won then maybe. But losing it I’m like ‘Oh yeah I remember that, that was good’. I think it was inevitable that that was going to happen again whether it was going to equal 80,000 or more.
“It was always going to be more because it adds a ring to it. If they do Wembley Stadium again, it will be more again. Boxing is doing well, we could have a Wembley Stadium SuperBowl every year where every British fighter’s jostling for position to get the Wembley slot. It probably will just go to Joshua [laughs].”
Another old rival of Groves’ – James DeGale, who he outpointed in 2011 – recently floated the idea of the pair meeting again at Wembley, if Groves can win the vacant WBA world super-middleweight title against Fedor Chudinov later this month.
Groves is receptive to returning to Wembley in order to renew hostilities with IBF champion DeGale.
“We’d do Wembley Stadium. Certainly would do Wembley Stadium,” he said.
“I don’t see why not, it’s a fight that people would be excited to go and see and there’s enough people out there that want to go and see boxing, we know that. We have to work for our headlines, we’re not heavyweights. The world isn’t fascinated with super-middleweights. But that’s fine.
“We can certainly ruffle enough feathers that we can do big numbers. There’s a timing factor to it of course. But I think me and him would always do well. It was mooted about this year and Wembley Stadium was mooted about as well.”