"Saint" George Groves (28-3) successfully defended his WBA super middleweight title and claimed Chris Eubank Jr. (26-2) IBO title while advancing to the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament on Saturday in Manchester. Groves scored a ...
Brian Mazique , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
"Saint" George Groves (28-3) successfully defended his WBA super middleweight title and claimed Chris Eubank Jr. (26-2) IBO title while advancing to the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament on Saturday in Manchester. Groves scored a unanimous-decision win over Eubank (117-112, 116-112 and 115-113).
Chris Eubank (left) and George Groves during the WBA Super-Middleweight title fight at the Manchester Arena. Peter Byrne/PA Wire. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Groves will now face the winner of the Callum Smith vs. Jurgen Braehmer scrap in March–if the latter is healthy. He appeared to have dislocated his left shoulder in the final round, but still managed to battle his way through the final spirited frame.
Throughout most of the fight, Groves outboxed Eubank with his speed, footwork and punching accuracy. Eubank was made to look amateurish with an overly plodding style, wild punches and a lack of passion were a major issue through the first eight rounds. He simply couldn't find Groves as the champion picked away at him with a steady jab and the occasional stiff right-hand shot. In the second round, a clash of heads opened up a cut on the side of Eubank's right eye.
The blood ran into his eye for the remainder of the fight and it appeared to be a distraction. In the last three rounds, Eubank tried to increase his pursuit and he did find an increased amount of success, but it wasn't enough to secure the win.
Groves shoulder popped out of place around the 1:45 mark of the final round. He didn't throw another punch with that arm for the rest of the fight. He retreated to the corner and resorted to bobbing and weaving and a few right-hand power shots to keep a hard-charging Eubank at bay.
Groves didn't know the severity of his injury during the post-fight interview, but there could be a delay if he's unable to fight within the tournament's window for the championship belt. A desperate Eubank talked about perhaps filling in for Groves if he couldn't go in the final.
He also called out IBF champion Caleb Truax. He wants to win that belt and then challenge the winner of the tournament.
It's great to see him quickly transition into Plan B, but he'll need to improve if he's to have any chance of beating the best at 168 pounds.
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