By: Ste Rowen
‘Saint’ George Groves solidified his status as the number one super middleweight and became the first man to progress to the Super Middleweight World Boxing Super Series final after dominating Chris Eubank Jr to a unanimous decision victory.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Speaking in the ring immediately after the result had been read out, the WBA ‘Super’, and now IBO champion said,
‘Terrific fight for the fans. Well done to Eubank, he didn’t lie when he said he was gonna grit it out tonight…I dropped him at least once but it didn’t count…He was strong inside as expected but I’m very, very happy with the performance.
The jab was landing correctly all night, when he had success it was because I did something wrong…I already hurt him before the cut…He was getting more wild as the fight wore on because he was having no success…It’s been a long time since I’ve won in front of a big crowd, I had great support tonight.’
On the shoulder injury he sustained in the final rounds of the fight,
‘I haven’t diagnosed it yet but it feels pretty sore but I wasn’t gonna let anything beat me tonight… It was about who wanted it most I think, and I obviously wanted it most.’
Eubank is left to lick his wounds, including a significant cut above his right eye; and wonder what could’ve been after what seemed to be a complete lack of strategy throughout most of the fight. Reflecting on the bout Eubank said,
‘I thought I did enough in the later rounds to win the fight but it was a close fight. All credit to George, this all part of boxing. You win some, you lose some. Hopefully we can get a rematch. It was enough of a good fight to have another one.’
But neither defeat, nor the eye injury stopped him calling out the recently crowned IBF super middleweight champion,
‘I guess I’m out of the tournament now but there’s a man called Caleb Truax who has a super middleweight world title, he beat James DeGale, so maybe me and him can step into the ring and then I’ll get the winner of this tournament.’
From the off Groves established himself behind his much-vaunted jab and despite flashes of punches and constant rushing in by Eubank Jr, Groves built up a strong lead in the early rounds. Eubank sustained the cut in the 3rd round from an accidental head clash, and although it looked troubling and perhaps game changing, it didn’t seem to be enough for the IBO champion to change tact. Eubank did his best to gather momentum after the 8th round, but even when he looked to be getting on top Groves superior strength tied the challenger up and left him with few ideas. But for George’s shoulder injury, the final round probably wouldn’t have been as lively as it occurred but, in the last minute of the fight Eubank laid it all on the line, landing clean multiple times, and yet still, Grove’s ring savvy and experience meant he hung on through the 12th and claimed his 28th professional victory.
The final scorecards read as 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 all for George Groves.
The WBA ‘Super’ champion will now go on to face either Callum Smith or Jurgen Braehmer, who fight in Nuremberg next weekend, although the final, set to take place in early June, may have to be pushed back because of what seemed to be a dislocated shoulder for the ‘Saint’.
One the undercard…
The potential stand-in for tonight’s main event, Zach Parker proved himself a worthy reserve as he dispatched with Adasat Rodriguez to move to 15-0 (11KOs).
It was a relatively tentative fight until Parker landed a big left hook to shake up his Spanish opponent and force the first knockdown. Once Rodriguez had risen, Parker went in for the kill, landed a double right hook, followed with a left in brutal fashion to keep his 15th professional opponent down. Parker will now be eyeing up a shot at the British title recently vacated by Rocky Fielding.
Tommy Langford retained the British middleweight title over 12 rounds against Jack Arnfield. There was no doubt that the challenger came to win but although it was close after 9 rounds, Langford dominated the final three rounds and it made the difference as the final scorecards came back as 116-113, 116-113, 117-113 all for Langford.
Ryan Walsh and Isaac Lowe fought to a split decision draw for the British featherweight belt meaning Walsh retained the title. Isaac Lowe seemed to start the quicker of the two and attempted to retain that pace throughout. Walsh chose to bide his time and pick off the right shots at the right time. There was a case to be argued for either fighter to take the win, but the final scorecards came back as 114-115 Lowe, 116-114 Walsh, 115-115.