By Chris Cella
British super middleweight standout and current Commonwealth (British Empire) champion George Groves (15-0, 12 KO) will put his title on the line against boxing veteran and former IBF world light heavyweight champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson (51-17-2, 35 KO) December 15 in the ExCel Arena in Dockland, London.
With a nearly 20 year age difference between the two fighters (Johnson has gone to war 55 more times than his opponent), Groves is excited to have the chance to exchange leather with a warrior who has established so much within the squared circle.
“Johnson is a great name and it will be a fantastic fight to end the year with before looking at a world title shot next year,” said Groves. “He’s a true warrior and will come to fight and in no way am I expecting an easy night’s work against him. I’ll be training my guts out for this fight and it could turn into a brutal and bloody war, one the fans will relish.”
Through his extensive career Johnson has battled countless champions, including Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Chad Dawson, Roy Jones Jr., Carl Froch and Lucian Bute, to name but a few.
Johnson has never shied away from a challenge, and even at the age of 43 he welcomes the test of the young and strong Groves.
Despite injuries allowing the 24-year-old to only fight once this year, Groves is anxious to put on a strong performance and work his way to a world title shot in 2013.
“The man (Johnson) is like a tank coming forward all the time and I’ll need to pull out some big bombs if I’m going to stop him. Top men like Froch and Dawson, plus Antonio Tarver and Clinton Wood couldn’t halt him, so it’s a tall order, but I’m confident in my abilities, and if I can be the first since Hopkins to stop him then it will send a strong message out to the 168 pound world champions that I’m coming for them.”
Over the course of his first 15 fights, Groves has proven to be a fast starter out of the gate, going the distance only three times, and scoring early knockouts in the majority of his bouts. Against a durable fighter like Johnson, who has the tools and resources to wear an opponent down and take him deep into the fight, Groves may look to pace himself and win rounds rather than trying to score the early knockout and possibly leave himself vulnerable.
Johnson, who is coming back from a brief retirement, has lost four of his last five, and if he is unable to get past the young British champion, it may be time to consider hanging the gloves up once again.