WBA Super Middleweight Champion George ‘Saint’ Groves has advanced to the final of the World Boxing Super Series, after defeating tough challenger Chris Eubank Jr earlier tonight.
The pair clashed at the ‘Manchester Arena’, Manchester, England in front of a sell out crowd. The bout had been talked about for a long time and a war of words between both camps had been rumbling on for months. Claims from Eubank Jr that he dominated Groves in sparring sessions of old were not appreciated by Groves, who accused Eubank Jr of a lack of respect. Groves was quoted as saying, that he will prove he is the better fighter when the two meet and that he’s “on another level.”
That statement from Groves proved to be the case, as the 29 year old took control from the opening bell. He established the jab from the outset and took the first two rounds easily. Round three saw both fighters have their success but it was Groves who was the busier fighter, continuing to work the jab and fighting on the front foot. By the end of the round, Eubank Jr was already showing signs of battle with a cut to his right eye.
Observers ringside commentated that Eubank Jr was making the same mistake as when he challenged WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, by giving away the early rounds too cheaply. He appeared hesitant in his attacks and also flat footed. After some stern words in the corner, the man from Brighton picked up the pace and pressed forward but was mainly throwing wild uppercuts and lunging in. Groves on the other hand, was composed and continued boxing at range.
Through the next few rounds and it was much of the same from both fighters. The fight was getting untidy however, with Eubank trying to wrestle with Groves and make it a slugfest. Groves initially obliged and did trade punches, much to the delight of the fan’s in attendance. Shane McGuigan soon put a stop to that though, instructing Groves to get behind his jab again and make the fight easier. Groves listened to his trainer and started dominating Eubank Jr again. The fight headed into the championship rounds and Eubank Jr knew his second world title chance was slipping away. He responded to calls for him to give the last few rounds everything, and showed a lot of heart and courage in doing so. He chased Groves down and landed some heavy looking shots, but it wasn’t enough to hurt the champion.
In the build up, the fight had been billed as a true 50/50 fight with numerous boxing experts unable to pick a winner. But as the final bell sounded, there was no doubt who the winner was. Groves had backed up his words of been ‘on a different level’ to Eubank, and had actually made him look one dimensional at times.
Questions will be asked about team Eubank, as it appeared there was no plan B in their game plan. Eubank Jr seemed to adopt the same tactics throughout and plod forward throwing wild shots. There was also a distinct lack of a purposeful jab, in stark contrast to Groves who demonstrated his much improved boxing skills.
Victory for Groves set’s up a potential clash with fellow British fighter Callum Smith, who faces Nieky Holzken next weekend in the second semi final. Smith was due to face tough German Juergen Braehmer in his semi final but he withdrew last week through injury. Late addition Holzken, is not expected to trouble Smith however, so an all British clash is expected at the O2 in London on June 2.