Tag Archives: George Groves

Mikkel Kessler sparring Nathan Cleverly and George Groves to prep for Carl Froch

9 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Mikkel Kessler is preparing for his Saturday, May 25 pay-per-view showdown against IBF super middleweight world champion Carl Froch by sparring against WBO light heavyweight incumbent Nathan Cleverly and Froch’s promotional stalemate George Groves.

Kessler said: “It´s great to have them in Copenhagen. This is the best preparation I could have asked for. To have three guys (including Sweden’s Eric Skoglund) like that – a world champion, a youth world champion and a top-ranked contender – is probably as good as it gets in terms of sparring. They are young, hungry and unbeaten. They will push me to the limit [and] that’s exactly the kind of warm-up I need to beat Carl Froch again!”

Kessler is a Viking Warrior but Scandinavia has a number of emerging fighters. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Groves and Clev will grow from Mikkel experience. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

While Groves and Cleverly are excellent choices for Kessler to prepare for Froch, the sparring arrangement says more about Groves and Cleverly’s ambition than it does about the Viking Warrior.  We would fully expect Kessler to take this fight seriously by employing the best sparring partners available. In Cleverly and Groves, he has two keen young fighters chomping at the bit to get recognition.

Kessler’s promoter Kalle Sauerland explained that the sparring partners chosen reflect the fighter’s desire to win: “Mikkel is the kind of fighter who always wants to test himself against the very best, no matter whether it’s training or the actual fight.

“Cleverly, Groves and Skoglund – the fact that he wants to get it on with them in training really shows you what the Viking Warrior is all about. When push comes to shove on May 25, the fighter with the better preparation will prevail, and that’s just another reason why Mikkel will leave the ring victorious.”

We expect Kessler to be testing himself in sparring for such a big fight… so we should look more at the British pair and their decision to go to Denmark. Groves and Cleverly are at similar points of their career: both undefeated, young and managed by strong promoters, so they should be starting to reap their rewards in the ring and financially – yet they are not.

Credit - Hayemaker.com

Groves’ big night at the 02 Dome is still his most significant win to date. Credit – Hayemaker.com

Groves has fought a string of lowly ranked fighters since his close decision win over rival James ‘Chunky’ DeGale, as has Cleverly since his win against Liverpool’s Tony Bellew. Despite both of them proving they’re above domestic level they have failed to go on to claim the big fights internationally.

I have no doubt that if George Groves was fighting at light heavyweight and not the stacked super middleweight division he would have won a world title by now, much like Cleverly.  The pair sparring against Mikell Kessler is a shrewd move by both men.

We could easily see Groves calling out the winner of the Froch-Kessler rematch, which would be another big fight in Britain. Groves is testing his abilities against a world class fighter in Kessler, so either his abilities will improve and take on Froch should the ‘Cobra’ win, and if Kessler wins, ‘Saint’ Groves should have experience of fighting the Dane.

Cleverly is probably not in a position to start calling out either man, but he can use the practice against world class opposition in a bid to ready himself should a mega-fight with Bernard Hopkins land. It is ironic, however, that it was Hopkins who earlier this week suggested that a Carl Froch showdown would interest him more as opposed to fighting the Welsh champion.

Preparing Kessler could put himself in a better position to get the Hopkins fight, or potentially face Kessler himself, as the Dane has fought at 175lbs before.

It is fair to say that both Groves and Cleverly need a fight that will take them to stardom. Winning alphabet titles and beating journeymen is fine but the real money and recognition their talent warrants means taking tricky fights against superstars like Froch, Kessler and Hopkins. The decision by both of them to join Kessler’s training camp suggests that the two of them are prepared to make that jump.

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Buglioni sparred with DeGale, Groves and Froch as prep for Royal Albert Hall performance

24 Apr

Alan Dawson – London

In order to ready himself for his fourth professional prizefight, London’s fast-emerging prospect Frank Buglioni sparred with former two-time super middleweight world champion Carl Froch, current European titlist at 168lbs James DeGale and British king George Groves. Buglioni boxes at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, London on Saturday, April 28 and is hoping to emulate his pugilistic inspiration; Joe Calzaghe who, like Frank, is a Briton of Italian stock.

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Buglioni has thus far shown heavy hands, canvassing durable journeymen like Paul Morby. Credit: Gianluca (Rio) di Caro

“It’s been a great experience to spar with James and George who are both top quality fighters and they each bring different strengths and qualities to the ring,” said Buglioni of DeGale, a combination puncher with a Philly shell guard and Groves, a multi-dimensional fighter who can box or bang.

On Froch, Buglioni (3-0-0, 2ko) was impressed with the Nottingham native’s training ethic: “I [have also] trained with Carl who was great to be around and learn from… especially his attitude towards training which was an eye-opener.”

Currently, 23-year-old Buglioni, who has campaigned at both 175lbs and most recently 168, is without an opponent but is motivated to perform at his highest level due to the history that the arena he will be fighting in contains. A premier concert hall, the Royal Albert Hall hosted amateur boxing last year as UK armed forces were pitted against their American counterparts. This weekend, for the first time in over a decade, professional boxing returns.

“I’ll find out who the opponent in the next day or so and then I can’t wait for Saturday, I’ve got plenty of fans coming down to support me and it’s going to be a great fight night at the Royal Albert Hall. I’m very excited to be boxing on the show where the biggest names in British boxing have all fought,” he added.

“When I was a kid, Joe Calzaghe was a big hero of mine so to fight at the venue where he won the British title is a real honour and it was watching Joe’s amazing fight with Jeff Lacy that made me decide to turn professional,” the TRAD TKO product, trained by Jimmy and Mark Tibbs, recalled. “It’s only my fourth fight on Saturday so I’m a long way off fighting for the British title, but it’s an ambition of mine to win the prestigious belt that the best in Britain have held.”

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Injury scuppers George Groves’ challenge of Robert Stieglitz’s world title

17 Apr

Tommy Barber – London

Undefeated English super middleweight George Groves, the current incumbent of the British and Commonwealth titles at 168lbs, has been forced to withdraw from his anticipated May 5 showdown in Erfurt with WBO belt holder Robert Stieglitz due to injury. Groves released a statement calling it “the worst decision” he has ever had to make, but is now reportedly set to take on his mandatory challenger for the Lonsdale title, Kenny Anderson, on June 30.

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Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

“I am sorry to have to announce that I won’t be boxing on May 5,” Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) said. “I have picked up an injury in the build up to this fight. We tried to work through it but soon realised I wouldn’t be able to perform the training needed to prepare for this fight.

“After coming back to London and seeking medical advice I hope this problem will be sorted and will only be a short delay. I am truly sorry to everyone involved who will be affected by this. This is without doubt the toughest decision I have ever had to make. I am gutted but nothing worth having is given away. It has only made me more determined to achieve my goal of becoming world champion.”

Groves was in line to take on Stieglitz, who is now without an opponent for his upcoming defence at the Messehalle in Germany, a huge event that incorporated a match-up with Groves’ fellow Londoner Ola Afolabi, who aims to de-throne WBO cruiserweight king Marco Huck. Alexander Dimitrenko and Kubrat Pulev also lock horns for the EBU heavyweight title.

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Sauerland to host triple header: Huck v Afolabi, Stieglitz v Groves and Pulev v Dimitrenko

13 Apr

On The Beak – Admin

There are three highlights at Erfurt, Germany’s night of boxing on Saturday, May 5: the WBO cruiserweight championship fight between Marco Huck (34-2-0, 25ko) and Ola Afolabi (19-2-3, 9ko); Robert Stieglitz (41-2-0, 23ko) defending his WBO super middleweight belt against George Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) and Kubrat Pulev (15-0-0, 7ko) against Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1-0, 21ko) for the vacant European heavyweight title.

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Huck to engage Afolabi in rematch. Credit: Andreas Sauer/ Team Sauerland

The fight for the European heavyweight crown promises to be very interesting: “The fight against Alexander Dimitrenko is going to be the toughest of my career to this point,” said the 30-year-old Pulev. “First I want to be the champion of Europe. After that I will start thinking about which Klitschko I want to fight next.”

Conversely, the possibility of a shot against one of the Klitschko brothers is something Dimitrenko has not even thought about: “The only thing on my mind is the fight for the European title in Erfurt. I do not care about what other people are saying. I am taking one step after the other.” The 29-year-old also got himself a new coach in the Brit Scott Welch, to ensure that he will be victorious against Pulev. “We are currently preparing in Aschaffenburg,” admitted the former European champion. “Due to an injury I had to vacate my title. Now I am completely fine and I want to be the champion of Europe once more.”

Also on the card is George Groves who is gunning for his first world title. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old prodigy of coach Adam Booth could not attend the press conference in Erfurt, but Stieglitz is not taking his opponent lightly: “He is a good guy – young and hungry for success. But he hasn’t been in as many fights as I have. I believe that my experience is going to make the difference and give me the advantage for this bout,” stated the 32-year-old.

SES coach Dirk Dzemski is also expecting a victory: “Robert has held his title for three years now. He has every reason to be optimistic when he steps into the ring.”

A title defence against Arthur Abraham is next on the cards. Frederick Ness, general manager of Sauerland Event concluded: “We are happy that Robert Stieglitz is part of the fight card in Erfurt. He is a great athlete. If he should win against Groves, we can all look forward to an all German showdown versus Arthur.”

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Groves confirms world title fight with Stieglitz following collapse of respective Anderson and Kessler bouts

14 Mar

Tommy Barber – London

Unbeaten Londoner George Groves has been thrust into a position that belies his relative inexperience as the super middleweight champion of Britain and the Commonwealth has, in the immediate aftermath of his withdrawal of a March 16 defence against Kenny Anderson on medical grounds, been aligned with WBO world titlist Robert Stieglitz in a contest tentatively scheduled for April 28.

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Fans will have to wait to see the rematch of Groves and Anderson's hotly contested 2010 war

A back injury sustained during a routine sparring session with training partner Eamonn O’Kane prevented Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) from participating in combat this weekend and, of the collapse of the entire Wembley Arena card, promoter Frank Warren said: “In sport, injuries occur and there is very little anyone can do about it. We had already lost Matthew Hall and now with George withdrawing from the main event I have had no option but to postpone the whole card until a later date.”

It was not the only 168lb fight that had gone from booked to scrapped as, just weeks before, Mikkel Kessler had abandoned plans to challenge Stieglitz (41-2-0, 23ko) for the WBO championship… the third time a meeting between the two prominent Europeans had failed to materialise.

“As a boxer, my fists are my biggest weapon,” Kessler commented, citing hand complaints as the catalyst for his pulling out of the April 14 tussle. “To fight and to win at the highest level, I need my hand to be fully recovered.”

Where two fights have fallen apart, one very different match-up can – and has – been made as Groves, who is the WBO’s mandatory challenger, will now be the one to take Kessler’s place and box Stieglitz, albeit at the end of April.

Groves recently confirmed the fight and claimed that the rematch with Anderson could well be for a world title as he has no problem facing the big-hitting tough Scotsman once he has captured honours at world level: “Maybe after I challenge and win the WBO super-middleweight championship [I will fight Anderson],” Groves is quoted by the Daily Mail to have said.

“I’m bringing another world title to Britain.”

Stieglitz, too, has also spoken of the Groves fight, commenting that he is pleased the WBO ordered the contest.

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Big Fight Preview: George Groves v Kenny Anderson II plus Saunders, Buglioni, Skeete, Webb and O’Meara

7 Mar

Gianluca Luca di Caro – London

Some sixteen months after George Groves and Kenny Anderson battled it out for Groves’ then newly acquired Commonwealth super middleweight Crown, at the M.E.N. in Manchester, the pair are preparing to go to war again on March 16. This time it’s for the British title Groves ceremoniously ripped from James DeGale’s grip back in May, last year. They rematch at Wembley Arena in London.

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Groves (left) and Anderson (right) part II could be as heated as the first encounter…

Before I get into making any predictions about the outcome, let’s cast our mind back to November 13, 2010 when the pair clashed for the first time. Six months earlier Groves conclusively beat Ghana’s Charles Adamu to win the Commonwealth title and was the bookies’ favourite to retain his crown against Anderson.

However, the Groves that turned up was not the same as the one that stopped the Ghanaian inside six rounds.

Groves had a sluggish start, keeping his distance and only occasionally landed the odd combination. By the third, Groves became increasingly reckless and started showboating with his hands down, in an attempt to draw the Scot in. When Anderson did come forward, the pair started trading some venomous big shots and the writing was on the wall for Groves, as it was Anderson that was getting the better of each exchange.

Things then got worse for Groves, he was forced back onto the ropes, constantly getting caught by big right and left hands. Groves was clearly struggling to cope with the constant pressure and it came as no surprise when Anderson landed a peach of a left hook to send the Londoner to the canvas for the first time in his professional career. Luckily for Groves, Anderson did not have time to finish him off as the bell rang to end the round.

Coming out for the fourth round it was clear that Groves wanted a war and was seemingly determined to go for it regardless of the instructions his manager/coach Adam Booth was screaming at him from ringside. As the round progressed, Booth was becoming increasingly irate. When Groves returned to the corner at the end of the round, Booth implored Groves to stop slugging it out with Anderson.

In the fifth stanza, Groves continued to ignore Booth’s advice as he brawled with Anderson each time the Scot marched forward. Groves showed heart though and eventually got a break, landing a couple of wicked body shots that stopped Anderson in his tracks.

Finally, Groves began to heed Booth’s warnings and started boxing long, smoothly moving around the ring keeping Anderson at bay with good solid jabs. Around the midway mark the Scot began to tire, in an instant Groves took the fight back to Anderson and let rip with a series of heavy body shots.

In a flash, the tables had turned, now it was Anderson boxing on the backfoot as Groves chased him around the ring letting rip with exocets to body and head until the referee stepped in to stop the fight on the two minute 35 second mark.

Whilst the fight on the 16th of March is going to be another all action affair, I for one do not think that Groves will make the same mistakes as he made the first time these two met. The reason I say this is just two fights later, Groves fought and beat his old adversary from the amateur days; James DeGale. Throughout the bout, Groves stuck rigidly to Adam Booth’s excellent game plan, keeping it long, picking his shots and not getting into the much expected slugging match.

It’s these tactics that eventually saw Groves get the better of Anderson last time and, this time around, expect him to use this approach right from the off, as well as notch up another stoppage finish.

The main support for Groves-Anderson sees the welcome return of former British light middleweight champion Sam Webb in a domestic title final eliminator against former Commonwealth champion Matthew Hall, which should be an absolute cracker and could well be the fight of the night.

Sticking with the 154lbers, Southern Area titlist Steve O’Meara takes on former Commonwealth ruler Bradley Pryce in a non-championship bout. Just as with Webb-Hall this bout has the potential to be an explosive all action affair, although have to say it could well be a short one if O’Meara continues his exceptional form of late… a first round knockout of big punching Ryan Toms to lift the Southern Area strap in September last year and another first round KO of Nathan Weise in his first defense back in December.

Also on the card are no less than three classy TRAD TKO gym mates, former Olympian and current Southern Area middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, Dean ‘Irish Lightning’ Byrne and the superb rising super middleweight star Frankie Buglioni. Last but not least is Sam Webb’s team mate: the hugely-popular ‘Super’ Bradley Skeete who will take part in his third bout of 2012.

All are involved in bouts with, as yet, undetermined opponents.

The Frank Warren promoted event, headlined by ‘Saint’ George Groves versus Kenny Anderson, will take place at Wembley Arena, and broadcast live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456 and Virgin Ch. 546), on Friday, March 16, 2012.

Tickets, priced  £150 (Ringside), £100 (Floor), £75 (Floor), £50 (Tier) and £40 (Tier), are available now on-line at TKO Box Office.

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George Groves and Kenny Anderson vow to knock each others block off

29 Jan

Tommy Barber – London

The main event on Frank Warren’s March 16 card at Wembley Arena in west London may be a short-lived one as both combatants – defending British super middleweight champion George Groves and challenger Kenny Anderson – have claimed they intend to knock each other out. The England versus Scotland encounter is a rematch of a 2010 tussle where Saint George kissed the canvas before laying leather on Anderson’s smacker, stopping the Scotsman in six.

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The patient yet powerful Groves and the ferocious Anderson are both hungry for knockouts…

“Anderson is a tough fighter,” noted Groves (14-0-0, 11ko), who won the Lonsdale belt due to his majority decision triumph over long-time rival James DeGale before making a successful defence against Paul Smith in a jaw-dropping second round knockout. He continued: “I’ve come on since we last fought and I can’t see him going as far as the sixth round this time… he’ll go earlier.

“I’m expecting a tough fight, I’m not underestimating him and he’s going to want to prove that the last time was a mistake. I’ve beaten DeGale and Smith and now I’ve got to beat Anderson before I move onto the next level.”

Anderson (15-1-0, 11ko), who retired John Rea and teekayoed both Lee Duncan and Paul Morby to manoeuvre himself into mandatory position, echoed Groves’ sentiment, but stated it will be he whose arm is raised when the fight reaches it’s swift conclusion. “It really hurt when he beat me, but I’ve got myself into the mandatory position and got the fight with Groves again.”

The 29-year-old from Edinburgh has the benefit of enjoying a full training camp to prepare for Groves as, in 2010, he was a late replacement, provided just 17 days to get into shape for what was then his most significant battle. Revenge has not been a word mentioned by the tough 168lber, but the man is determined to level the score.

“I can’t see this fight going all the way… with the way me and Groves fight it’s going to be an early for one of us but I’m going to make sure it’s not me. It will be a hard fight, but I know what I did wrong last time and I’ve rectified the mistakes, this time I’ll be coming away the winner.”

Promoter Frank Warren commented: “This is a fight that the public want to see again and I’m delighted that we’ve got it on and it will be live on BoxNation. I promote George and of course I will be looking for him to come through this fight and we’ll have something big lined up for him next.”

Providing the chief support for the event is former British light middleweight king Sam Webb (17-2-0, 5ko) who takes on hard-hitting Matthew Hall (24-4-0, 16ko), a former incumbent of the Commonwealth crown, in an eliminator for the British title currently held by Brian Rose.

Also in action on the London card is fast-rising middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders (12-0-0, 8ko), former amateur standout Frank Buglioni (2-0-0, 2ko) and rangy, unbeaten welterweight Bradley Skeete (6-0-0, 2ko). Irish 27-year-old Dean Byrne completes the show but his opponent is yet to be determined.

The undercard features unbeaten Hatfield middleweight Billly Joe Saunders; hot prospect Frank Buglioni from Enfield; welterweight Dean Byrne (15-1-0, 6ko) from Mile End and Penge welterweight Bradley Skeete.

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Two British battles: Hatton v Brook booked and Groves v Anderson II ordered by BBBoC

11 Jan

Alan Dawson – London

The Yorkshire v Lancashire rivalry is a hot one in English sport. Despite a gulf in class, Leeds United and Manchester United retain a severe grudge when they are pitted against the other, the Roses match between Yorkshire CCC and Lancashire CCC is a must-see in cricket and this also transcends other games like rugby and even between university students. Now, on March 17, at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton will combat a War of the Roses in boxing as the welterweight duo aim to decide whom can lay claim to be the best in Britain.

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Head to head: Undefeated Brook and defensive fighter Hatton are number one and two in UK

“This fight has been a long time coming but I am just so pleased that we’re going to get it on,” said Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) when the fight was confirmed this week. “I want to prove that I’m the number one welterweight in Britain. Matthew is a proven fighter and as tough as they come and the Hatton’s have done so much for boxing.

“But this feels like my big night and it’s a dream come true to be headlining the Motorpoint Arena… I remember watching Johnny Nelson and Ryan Rhodes fighting in The Full Monty back in 1997, and now it’s my turn to be the big draw – I can’t wait.”

The Brook v Hatton bout has polarised boxing fans already. Under former promoter Frank Warren, Brook felt the wrath of detractors who stated that, because of how highly he was heralded, he was being matched too softly. The 25-year-old pugilist, dubbed Special K, signed for a new promotional agency last year – Matchroom Sports – and, under head of boxing Eddie Hearn, Brook has fought Lovemore N’Dou (won by way of decision), Rafal Jackiewicz (won by way of stoppage) and Luis Galarza (stoppage).

Hearn had made numerous declarations that, should Brook oversee Galarza in what was his debut on American soil, then he would secure his 147lb ward a world title shot or, failing that, a big-name fight at the start of 2012.

Hatton (42-5-2, 16ko) is a solid and durable European-level prizefighter who has a penchant for defensive blocks but a world title holder and/or a draw at the gate he is not. The achievements and pedigree of Ricky’s younger brother is not a step-up from the trident of fighters Brook has already boxed whilst campaigning under the Matchroom banner, however, the decision to fight Hatton now could be one that takes into account future planning.

Brook and Hearn want Britain’s most recent unified world title holder – Amir Khan, who lost his WBA/IBF super lightweight championship belts to Lamont Peterson last month, when Khan makes the inevitable trip up to welter in the coming months/year.

Khan and his handlers, though, are loathe to do business with Matchroom Sports and Hearn again following the Sky Sports Box Office/Primetime fallout from Khan and another of Hearn’s fighters, Paul McCloskey, last year (Khan prevailed by way of technical decision). Instead, there were rumours that Khan would seek out Hatton for a homecoming welterweight bash but should Brook resoundingly beat-up Magic Matthew then this option for Khan would carry no practical value. Brook would be the only real British option.

Hatton, though, does not plan on making the one hour trip to Sheffield just to make up the numbers and make Brook look good: “I always knew that Kell and I would fight,” he said, before adding: “I’ve got nothing but respect for Kell and there’s no doubt that he’s a real talent but I am peaking at the right time and we’ll see just how talented he is on fight night.”

His trainer, Bob Shannon, concurs with Hatton’s statements, but added that the gameplan set by the respective fighters’ cornermen will be what separates them when the winner’s arm is held aloft: “Matthew will be in great shape on March 17 and this is a fight that will be won by who gets their tactics right. I know Kell well and I will live and breathe Kell Brook from now until fight night. He is a proper talent but this is a real test how talented he is.”

Hearn commented: “This is the sort of fight that I love to be involved in – a classic British battle between two great fighters. I fully expect this to catch the imagination of fight fans and the general public and really be something very big when we get to fight night.”

Perhaps in an acknowledgment that there would be questions as to why Brook is boxing Hatton for two minor belts (WBA Intercontinental welterweight title and IBF International welterweight title) and not fighting for a full world championship, Hearn said: “We talked to world champions for Kell but nothing that was put on the table excited me as much as this fight.”

Special Magic: K and Matthew pose for the press outside of the ground they'll be engaging each other in

While a match-up between Brook and Hatton would be a thinking man’s fight between a precise puncher with good movement (Kell) and a comparatively light puncher who is resilient, accustomed to hearing the final bell and has mastered an assortment of defensive postures (Hatton), a barnstorming British belter could be underway as the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) have ordered a rematch between heavy hitters George Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) and Kenny Anderson.

Groves passed a gut check in his first fight with Anderson (15-1-0, 11ko) as he rose from the canvas to knockout the tough Scot in November, 2010. Since, the 29-year-old has successfully maneuvered himself into a mandatory position in order to challenge Groves for the British championship at super middleweight: “Kenny Anderson has been made mandatory to face George Groves next,” BBBoC secretary Robert Smith has confirmed.

An elated Anderson, speaking via the Daily Record, said: “It’s good the Board have given me the chance. I was pushing for it so I am delighted with the news and now I can talk about what I am going to do. I have finished off my last two opponents and feel I’m improving in every one of my fights.

“I deserve this– I’m glad I’ve been given the chance to show people I’m here again.”

Groves’ representative, Frank Warren of Sports Network, won the purse bids earlier today, Wednesday and therefore holds the right to stage the fight – most likely in Groves’ resident city; London.

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DeGale headlines in Liverpool after Groves injury, faces Guerrero

25 Nov

On The Beak – Admin

British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion George Groves has had to withdraw from the Friday, December 9 show at the Liverpool Echo Arena because of a hand injury. The injury occurred during a training session this week at Groves’ gym in Vauxhall, South London, and after seeking expert medical guidance, he was advised not to fight.

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Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

Intercontinental title against Jose Maria Guerrero will now top the bill on the show – and a further title fight could be added. Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) was due to joint-headline alongside rival James DeGale – whose defence of the WBO Intercontinental title against Jose Maria Guerrero will now top the bill on the show – and a further title fight could be added.

Last month, Groves produced a great performance to stop former British champion Paul Smith in the second round at Wembley Arena and was looking to end a memorable year that included a win over rival DeGale (11-1-0, 8ko).

Groves said: “I’m really gutted as I was coming along nicely in training and on course for the fight in a couple of weeks’ time. The injury is a set back and I really wanted to end the year with four good wins. I’m sorry that my fans won’t be able to see me in action, but I’ll back early next year and ready to kick of 2012 with bang as I continue towards further titles.”

Adam Booth, Groves’ manager and trainer, added: “Obviously we are all disappointed as George was looking forward to getting back into the ring again so quickly after his great win over Paul Smith. At this stage of George’s career it would be crazy to compromise him and carry an injury of that nature into the fight. He’s been advised to rest it for now and we’ll seek further medical guidance next week.”

Promoter Frank Warren said: “It’s disappointing for everyone concerned, but George can’t fight if his hand is injured and if he did go ahead and put in a sub-par performance we don’t want to make excuses. He’ll have a good rest and treatment and I’ll look to get him back out early next year which will be a big one for him.

“It’s still a cracking show with James DeGale now headlining and our best talent from Liverpool all in action including Stephen and Liam Smith, Joe Selkirk and Paul Butler. Unbeaten prospects Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Johnson are also on the card along with the pro-debut of Damon Jones.”

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DeGale boxes Guerrero in December, EBU mandatory against Sanavia due for February

17 Nov

Tommy Barber – London

The Frank Warren Sports Network card that had initially been set to take place in London has been moved to the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Friday, December 9. Three Londoners are set to share main event status as burgeoning middleweight Billy Joe Saunders, together with super middleweight rivals George Groves and James DeGale are all due to box. The latter of whom, has already received an opponent – Jose Maria Guerrero, of Spain.

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Chunky in stay-busy fight. Credit Domfranks85

There had been speculation that DeGale – a 2008 gold medal Olympian in Beijing – would oblige the mandatory challenger for his EBU title; Cristian Sanavia, however, this match-up has now been mooted for a February date. Consequently, DeGale’s dust-up with Guerrero will not have the blue European belt on the line.

DeGale (11-1-0, 8ko) won the EBU championship in his most recent outing, against durable Polish pugilist Piotr Wilczewski, in October. The scoring was tight and a reflection of the competitive spirit that the bout contained, yet it was the Londoner who prevailed by way of majority decision.

Guerrero (29-2-1, 11ko) does not possess the same credentials that strong Continental opponent Wilczewski provided. He has twice been defeated, once by Mario Veit in 2003 and again in 2005, when he was stopped inside three rounds by Mamuka Khutuashvili.

A four year break from the sport occurred between 2005 and ’09 but, since returning to boxing, he has amassed a winning streak of four fights, however, the 34-year-old Spaniard has rarely boxed anyone with a winning record and, as such, will likely provide DeGale with a ‘tune-up’ for Sanavia, rather than the two sterling tests he undertook against Groves in May and Wilczewski, four months later.

British and Commonwealth super middleweight titlist Groves, an undefeated prizefighter in 14 contests (11 by way of knockout), also fights on the card but it is, as of yet, unclear over whom will provide his opposition and whether it will have the Englishman’s two domestic straps on the line. Groves is enjoying a breakout year having out-pointed DeGale and supplementing that high-profile victory with a stunning two-round knockout over the usually durable Liverpudlian; Paul Smith.

Billy Joe Saunders, who recently lifted the Southern Arena middleweight belt due to his trumping of Gary Boulden, will also compete on December 9, as will another undefeated rising middleweight prospect Joe Selkirk, 26-year-old featherweight Stephen Smith and welterweight novice Liam Smith.

Related article: Groves: DeGale should avoid me if wants career longevity

Related article: Groves silences Smith with second round stoppage

Related article: Stylish Saunders scores decision win over Boulden, claims Southern Area title

Related article: New EBU champ DeGale trumps Wilczewski after hairy moments

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