GEORGE GROVES has credited trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick and his loving family with re-energising him for the most crucial stage of his boxing journey. Coming off two inside-schedule defeats to Carl Froch – the first highly contentious – super-middleweight Groves seeks to kick start the next chapter with a WBC final eliminator against Christopher Rebrasse, the Frenchman’s European belt also on the line.
Groves made his name and spent the vast majority of his professional career under the auspices of Adam Booth. This will be his third fight with Fitzpatrick and the duo are yet to enjoy a victory together, but Groves has a deep and abiding faith in their partnership.
“I met Paddy at a different stage of my life and of my career,” Groves noted. “A fighter of 20 working with David Haye and Adam Booth would be almost in awe of them. They’re showing you a lot of new things very quickly, you learn a lot very quickly and you have wins very quickly because you’re a newbie pro. That relationship went sour, it happens, but for Paddy to come in and give me that stimulation, I feel like I am learning new things in the gym, day after day. A lot of fighters are set in their ways, old dogs and you can’t teach them new tricks. We feel we are in a really good place but the thing we are desperate for is a win.”
Vital to that mission is Groves’ wife of two years Sophie and the Hammersmith man’s family. They take the pressure off and help to keep a high-profile fighter grounded.
“My family in general are fantastic, loving and supporting parents and siblings, and I’ve got a wonderful wife as well,” Groves said. “I’m fortunate, I’ve got a lot of good people in my life and I stumble across good people with good intentions. You wouldn’t realise when you are being moody sometimes; you can be hard work, temperamental and, in many ways, a diva. Like, ‘Don’t ask me to do the washing up in between [training] sessions because I’m going to go and lay down.’ It’s a great excuse [laughs]. I’ll tidy up the whole house but I don’t wanna make the bed; it’s the little wins, you know? But they’re understanding. I spoke to my mum on the phone the other day and she was really pleased to speak to me and I thought, ‘Maybe I haven’t called her enough lately’, but she understands. The people around me are good, genuine people and they worry about me. That’s nice but also sad really that I put that worry on them. It’s nice to know they care so I take that with a smile on my face.”