GEORGE GROVES believes a rematch with James DeGale would turn into a ‘tear up’, but insists he’s got other business to attend to first.
He outpointed bitter rival DeGale in 2011 and will have his fourth attempt at a world title later this year when he fights Fedor Chudinov for the WBA strap.
After recently drawing with Badou Jack, DeGale called for a highly-anticipated clash with Groves but George refuses to throw away his chance against Chudinov.
“I think it’s a fantastic fight. I’m certainly not going to sacrifice my WBA situation to chase down a fight with DeGale, but if something can be done down the line, perfect,” he told Boxing News.
“It’s a great fight, it’s a fight I’d relish. I don’t care if it’s on TV or not, it’s got to that point where I’m 28 and I fancy being in some big fights, I fancy having some good tear ups and next time round [with DeGale], it’ll be a tear up.
“Whatever happens we both bring a significant amount to the table. It doesn’t even need a belt, we could do it for the Dale Youth [the amateur club they both trained at] belt and people would tune in. We’ll just have to wait and see. If the fight’s there, it’s there but I’m not chasing it because my next fight’s for a world title.”
Groves hasn’t yet seen DeGale’s thrilling draw with Jack – who beat Groves in 2015 – as he had to travel to the US the day after it was shown on television in the UK, but he is well aware of James’ comments towards him afterwards.
With no clear next move, DeGale floated the idea of rematching Groves next.
“I think he fancies the fight with me,” Groves continued.
“I think he probably thought that he was going to do an absolute number on Badou Jack, he came away with a draw, I lost a split decision but I was boxing Jack in his home town. Maybe if the circumstances were different I wouldn’t have lost the decision. In that respect, there’s not much to split us. I’m sure he wants to go out and prove a point, he wants to avenge his loss against me.”
News on his fight with Chudinov is expected soon, though with a lot of big fights already scheduled in the UK, Groves is expecting a bit of a wait.
He is currently in Las Vegas to support gymmate Carl Frampton this weekend, but he has also been getting some sparring to ensure he hits the ground running when training camp begins in earnest.
“We’re waiting on a date for the world title fight so I don’t want it to sneak up on me. We want to have all the joints fully lubricated so we can hit camp hard, so it’s just about working my way back in. It’s been perfect work for me really, pre-camp, before we get a fight set,” he said.
“We’re trying to slot into a frantic and busy UK TV schedule, early March is Haye-Bellew. I’d like to fight between that and Joshua-Klitschko, I don’t think that’ll happen, it’ll probably get stretched out a bit further. We’re speaking with Chudinov’s people, the last two weeks we’ve been trying to nail down a date and venue and hopefully we’ll have something to announce in the next few days.
“We’re confident of bringing it to the UK, in London.”
Chudinov is no stranger to fighting in the English capital, having defeated Frank Buglioni there in 2015. He has only fought once since then, when Felix Sturm controversially defeated him last February.
“He’s a good, strong, typical Eastern European style fighter. I don’t think he’s as cute or elusive as some of the elite Eastern European fighters. He’s certainly strong,” Groves said.
“He’s had a bit of a stop-start career, which will hopefully suit me. He’s not had that many fights, he’s coming off a loss although I think he beat Sturm, he would have been out of the ring for over a year by the time we fight. In the mean time I got some back to back wins against lesser opposition, then stepped it up against Martin Murray and Gutknecht. Those two guys were selected with Chudinov in mind.”