“Saint” George Groves improved his record to 27-3 at the SSE Arena, Wembley as he stopped a gallant Jamie Cox inside four championship rounds. A vicious right hook to the body was the shot that sealed the deal after a competitive opening nine minutes of boxing. Groves retained his WBA (Super) super middleweight crown for the first time and now eyes a semi-final clash with Chris Eubank Jnr (in either January or February) as the World Boxing Super Series begins to take shape.
With fans split 50/50 inside the arena on Saturday night, when the fighters made their entrances around 10pm there was hostility, tension and a real buzz in the air. Cox entered first and strutted around the ring with a purpose; intent on making the statement he has been promising all week.
Groves followed to his now trademark ‘Firestarter’ entrance, and with production values through the roof with the World Boxing Super Series, we settled down to anthems, elongated ring announcements and a light show to rival Disneyland.
The pair touched gloves and we were under way. With Cox fighting out of the southpaw stance, it was going to be interesting to see how Groves could utilise his jab against new angles, something that didn’t particularly materialise. Groves showed glimpses of his world class stiff jab in the opening exchanges, but as Cox got in close the touch-paper was lit early in the fight as the pair exchanged hooks to the head and body.
Groves won the first round with the cleaner work, however the two that followed weren’t as clear. Cox was rough on the inside and backed Groves up to the ropes, frequently putting together solid combinations and catching Groves with heavy hands.
Groves reverted to using his lengthy, spiteful jab after the end of the third and once Cox had spent two rounds unloading bombs to relatively no avail, the end was near.
The challenger over-committed halfway through the fourth round and Groves capitalised in devastating form with a right to the body which sent Cox to the canvas in agony. It was clear that Cox would not return to his feet, and with a shake of the head the fight was over.
A downbeat Jamie Cox praised the power of Groves, however the Swindon-born challenger was surprised by certain aspects of Groves' artillery.
"He placed his shots well. He’s a very good champion. I made a mistake and he made me pay. He landed a good shot to the body. He had very good boxing, good power and placed his shots well. George made me over-commit on my aggressiveness."
Chris Eubank Jnr was ringside for the fight, and Kalle Sauerland wasted no time in getting both fighters in the ring together for the obligatory face-off.
Speaking inside the ring after the fight, Eubank showed his excitement for the semi-final -
"It was a good fight, he did what he had to win, not too many cuts and bruises so it looks like we're on for January. Now we've got the super fight for the fans. That's what we wanted."
With Eubank Jnr stopping Avni Yildirim last weekend in Stuttgart, the IBO super middleweight champion is on the verge of the biggest test of his career, on the biggest stage, however the 28-year-old was reluctant to read into the past sparring between the two -
“Sparring is training, that’s history. As far as I’m concerned, I’m the No.1 seed. I’m going to go in there and show where my confidence comes from. We have an opportunity to put on a mega fight. I can’t wait, it’s going to be epic!”
Speaking to the media after the fight, Groves answered questions relating the to the choice of picking Jamie Cox -
"I’m thankful for the support. It’s all fun and games before the fight. I picked him as I thought he was the most dangerous fighter. I knew he would ask questions. I know what he’s all about. I’m in tremendous form. Another fantastic win. Roll on the next dude, whoever that is?"
"Saint" George also commented on the improvement in his body shot selections and power, with success to the body coming under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan -
"I was landing big body shots all night, I knew he was a fit guy. It was a right to the body, slashed through, it’s a crippling shot. I’ve had four stoppages with Shane, three to the body."
With three of the four semi-finalists known for the super middleweight World Boxing Super Series, attention can be turned fully to the three British challengers and who is in best set to get their gloves on the Ali Trophy. Callum Smith will have to fight the winner of Brahmer vs Brant, as "Mundo" eyes the winner of Groves vs Eubank Jnr in the final.
Which of the three Brits do you think will go the furthest in the WBSS? Comment below...
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?