Updated: Aug 7, 2019
This week marked the announcement that the career of George Groves has come to an end.
At just thirty years old George has made the decision to step away from the boxing ring after an eleven year career filled with excitement at every corner, and the chase that every fighter at some point of their career dreams of…the chase for a world title.
Groves made his professional debut way back in 2008 on the undercard of David Haye’s clash with Monte Barrett picking up a points win against fellow novice pro Kirill Psonko.
Eight fights later and he was challenging for the Commonwealth super middleweight title against veteran Charles Adamu in what was the first acid test of his career. Adamu had four losses on his record when he met Groves, but had never been stopped…that was until Groves seemingly lethal right hand came in to play, stopping Adamu in the sixth round and becoming the commonwealth champion in the process.
After making his American debut in July 2010 sharing the bill with the likes of Juan Marquez, Dimitry Pirog and Jorge Linares, Groves was then ordered to face mandatory challenger for his Commonwealth title Kenny Anderson.
The fight with Anderson was the first time we got to see the vulnerable side of Groves, after shipping a little punishment Groves was knocked to the canvas for the first time in his career. As we would see in future fights, a light switched on in Groves mind where he would automatically revert to fighting as opposed the slick counter punching style that had saw him to the commonwealth title, and after a barrage of punches Groves stopped Anderson in the sixth round and successfully defended his title.
Next up was a name synonymous to Groves’s career all the way up to the end…James DeGale.
The fight with DeGale was one of genuine bad blood, they had fought before in the amateur’s where Groves had beaten DeGale and always had that physiological edge. The fight didn’t need selling to the public as both Groves & DeGale were outspoken and said what they felt which was evident on an episode of “Ringside” where both men sat side by side being interviewed whilst trading insults in inbetween.
The two finally met on the 21st May 2011 at the O2 in London, the first time both men had headlined on a pay per view event. The stakes were high as both men held titles, Groves held the Commonwealth, DeGale held the prestigious British title. After a compelling twelve rounds two judges scored the bout 115-114 to Groves with the other scoring it even.
A rematch at some point seemed inevitable and was very close to becoming an immediate rematch when Groves signed with Frank Warren, who also had DeGale under his banner. However as is the case in boxing sometimes politics rule and the fight did not happen.
George Groves would move on in his career scoring impressive victories over Paul Smith, and Glen Johnson and continued to work his way on to the world rankings, picking up the WBA inter-contiental title on the undercard of Carl Froch’s rematch with Mikkel Kessler foreshadowing a clash between Groves and Froch.
In mid-2013 the IBF installed Groves as the mandatory challenger to Carl Froch with the bout scheduled for 23rd November 2013 with both the IBF and WBA titles on the line.
The build up to this fight is one of the most memorable in recent history with the young and hungry lion in Groves trying to unsettle the veteran champion in Froch.
On various occasions it seemed that this physiological warfare had worked and on an episode of “Ringside” it was clear to see how frustrated the champion had got. During this time Groves also split with long-time trainer Adam Booth and had opted to go with Paddy Fitzpatrick.
The fight itself again is one that will go down in recent history as one of the most exciting, both men came flying out of the blocks from the first bell and much to the surprise of the crowd and millions watching at home, Groves dropped Froch with a hard counter right hand which put Froch on the canvas and had the champion reeling.
The fight progressed on, and both had great success, however as the fight started to get into the championship rounds, Groves started to tire, and in the ninth round, Froch unleashed an attack which prompted referee Howard Foster to step in, much to the dismay of the fans in attendance and many pundits ringside. It is debated to this day that Mr Foster stepped in too soon.
As a result the public and Groves demanded an immediate rematch, which was ordered by the IBF and it was set for the 31st May 2014 at the only place which could hold such a demand…Wembley Stadium.