GEORGE GROVES has praised the family of Eduard Gutknecht for their ‘wonderful’ reaction to their tragic fight last year, which left the German hospitalised with a bleed on the brain.
Groves outpointed Gutknecht over 12 rounds in London and Eduard was later taken to hospital.
Gutknecht’s wife Julia revealed in April that the 34-year-old was not able to walk or talk, and Groves admits the incident is still difficult to come to terms with.
“He’s not in a good way, his family are struggling, he hasn’t made the improvements that we prayed he would,” he said.
“It’s tough for my family to see, they are worried about him and worried about me, worried about my health, it’s not nice.”
Groves visited Gutknecht before he was taken back to Germany, where he remains hospitalised and, according to his wife, has made “little progress.”
The Londoner has not fought since but on May 27 will box Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA super-middleweight title at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.
“The sweetest thing that came out of it for me if anything was that when I managed to see him before he went back to Germany I met his wife and his sister and they gave me a big hug straight away,” he explained.
“I knew they were feeling it, but they didn’t blame me. They said ‘this is sport, we understand’. To relieve me of that sort of guilt was a wonderful thing that they didn’t need to do, I really appreciated that, he’s still in our prayers and we all hope for an improvement for him soon so he can get back to a good standard of living. I’ve got to be honest, selfishly right now I try not to think about it too much.
“I still have to fight, I don’t have the luxury of quitting yet, I don’t want to, selfishly, and I couldn’t anyway. You try not to think about it too much. I’m pretty good at shutting the gym door and getting on with work, I’m hoping I can do that on fight night, you never know.”
After Michael Watson suffered life-changing injuries during their 1991 fight, Chris Eubank admitted that his ‘killer instinct’ had gone, such was his fear of hurting another opponent.
Groves understands the sentiment, but is aware that to lose his edge could prove catastrophic for his world title ambitions.
“I don’t know if I’ve lost my killer instinct or not. It’s instinct, isn’t it? So you won’t know until you know. Sparring partners are trying to hit me and I’m trying to hit them back so it’s hopefully still there,” he said.
“Chris Eubank Snr, I’m sure something changed in him, but I had a son last year which has softened me a bit, given me a different perspective: it’s made me a little more ruthless, I want more money now, more fights, I can’t afford to let anything slip. And Eubank Snr’s got his son fighting, so he’s able to put something to bed, otherwise he wouldn’t have anything to do with boxing. I hope the killer instinct will still be there; it certainly needs to be.”