ALMOST as soon as George Groves had a world title belt wrapped around his waist for the first time after stopping Russia’s Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round on the Kell Brook-Errol Spence undercard at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane, talk turned to a potential grudge rematch with fierce enemy James DeGale.
With Groves now possessing the previously vacant WBA super-middleweight crown, and DeGale holding the IBF super-middle strap, a unification clash between the two Londoners would be a truly massive event in the UK. While George is hopeful a bout can be made against a man he has beaten both as an amateur and a pro, he does not believe it will be a straightforward deal to arrange.
“I don’t think it’d be an easy one to make, because he isn’t an easy person to deal with,” Groves said. “I’d like that fight, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’ve beaten him twice already. I think it’s a fight that everyone would like to see. I always enjoy the build-up, I enjoy the fight, I enjoy beating James.
“There’s going to be a lot of opportunities now to make big fights. There’s a huge fights out there for me – maybe against some British guys, who knows?”
After failing in his three previous attempts at claiming world honours, Groves fulfilled a lifelong dream by clinching a world championship in his fourth title try.
“It’s a fantastic feeling – a life’s work achieved,” declared Groves. “Since I was seven years old I’ve wanted to become a world champion. It’s been a long road. I’ve made some mistakes along the way, and made it hard for myself in many ways. But that’s made it feel much sweeter now.
“I’ve put some demons to bed. For so long I was walking around clueless and bitter, not knowing why I wasn’t a world champion. That weight has been lifted now. It’s such a wonderful feeling. I’ve learnt from my losses, and I feel that I’m a better fighter for them now.
“I knew I was good enough to win a world title, but I wasn’t sure if I ever would. The second I started working with [trainer] Shane McGuigan, and started gelling with him, I knew that I’d achieve that goal. Now I need to find some new goals to achieve.”
As a former holder of the WBA 168lb belt himself, the relentlessly aggressive Chudinov made Groves work extremely hard for his victory. The 29-year-old Hammersmith man knows full well that he was in a fight – he has the battle scars to prove it.
George stated: “I was treating this like just another fight. I didn’t want to think what it’d feel like to be a world champion, because I’d been so close before but never done it. I’m still waiting for the true feeling that I’m a world champion to kick in. I just feel a bit numb now, but that’s probably because Chudinov hit me with some decent shots! The man was strong – frighteningly strong. He carried a lot of weight in his punches. He was a tough cookie.”