This week George Groves announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 30. He’s definitely a fighter that divides opinion, so in this post I will be looking at his career to see what he will be remembered for.
He had a very successful amateur career which included two ABA titles, and culminated in him winning a silver medal in the Commonwealth games in 2007.
He made his professional debut on 15th November 2008 against Kiril Psonko a fight he won on points over 6 rounds. He then went on a 8 fight winning streak scoring 5 knockouts along the way.
In just his 9th fight he got the chance to fight for his first major title when on the 3rd April 2010 on the undercard of Haye V Ruiz for the world title. He took on Charles Adamu for the Commonwealth title. From the opening bell Groves dominated this fight dropping Adamu in the opening round. He continued the onslaught putting Adamu on the canvas twice in the 4th. Until the referee finally stopped the fight with Adamu on his feet but taking a lot of punishment in the 6th round.
In his next fight on 31st July 2010 he went across the pond to Las Vegas to take on Alfredo Contreras a fight he won with a 6th round knockout victory. After a successful American debut he returned to the UK to defend his Commonwealth title when on 13th November 2010 he took on Kenny Anderson a fight that many people thought Groves would win easily given the fact that Anderson took the fight at two weeks’ notice. However the night very nearly became a nightmare as Groves hit the canvas in the 3rd round, he showed a true fighters heart to fight his way back to score a 6th round stoppage.
Then came the fight that all British boxing fans wanted to see after years of bad blood going back to their amateur days George Groves and James DeGale finally got it on in a professional ring. This fight is still one of the best fights I’ve ever seen as it went one way then the other. It was 12 hard fought rounds with every round difficult to score, at the final bell most people scored the fight by 1 or 2 rounds to DeGale. However the judges saw it differently scoring the fight 115-115,114-115 Groves and 114-115 Groves. Due to the fact that Groves only won the fight by one point it was thought that a rematch would be inevitable but for one reason or another it never happened and now it never will.
He went on to continue to defend his title against the likes of Paul Smith and Glen Johnson. On 25th May 2013 he took one step closer to a shot a the world title when he took on Noe Gonzalez Alcoba for the WBA Intercontinental title on the undercard of Froch V Kessler 2. Groves made a bright start and in the 5th round he landed a clean right hand which sent Alcoba to the canvas he made it back to his feet at the count of five, but the referee stopped the fight as the towel came in from Alcoba’s corner.
Then came his big chance on 23rd November 2013 he took on Carl Froch for the IBF and WBA titles, after months of build up the pair finally let their fists do the talking in front of a sold out Manchester Arena in a fight that was billed as The Battle Of Britain. Groves made the perfect start sending Froch to the canvas in the opening round and when that happened you could hear a pin drop in the arena. Froch battle back but still the better quality work was coming from Groves, then in the 9th round Froch landed a good combination and referee Howard Foster suddenly jumped in and stopped the fight. This result caused a massive amount of controversy especially when you consider that at the time of the stoppage Groves was up on all 3 cards 73-78, 75-76 and 75-76.
Due to the controversy surrounding their first fight the rematch had to happen so on the 31st April 2014 in front of 80000 fans at Wembley Stadium which at the time was a post war record for the highest attended boxing event in Britain the pair went to war again. Although Froch fought a better fight this time around for large parts of the fight the better work was coming from Groves. Until the 8th round when Froch left the result in no doubt as he landed the perfect right hand which wiped Groves out and the referee didn’t even bother with the count.
After those two back to back defeats people where beginning to ask have we seen the best of George Groves, but he continued to box on. On 20th September 2014 he got back in the ring to take on Christopher Rebrasse for the European and WBC Sliver titles. For 12 rounds Groves looked back to somewhere near his best as he out boxed Rebrasse for the whole fight going on to win a unanimous decision 110-118,110-118 and 111-117.
He went on to make two successful defences before once again he fought his way into a world title shot. On the 12th September 2015 he travel back to Las Vegas to take on Badou Jack for the WBC title. The fight started badly for Groves as he was knocked down in the opening round. However he was able to recover and turn the fight into a very close one that could have gone either way despite his best efforts Jack won a split decision 115-112 Jack, 116-111 Jack and 113-114 Groves.
One fight after losing to Badou Jack he put himself back into the title mix as he took on David Brophy for the WBA International title, a fight he won with a 4th round knockout. He then went on to defend his title in a all British fight against Martin Murray a fight he won with a unanimous decision 110-118 on all 3 cards. He then made another title defence against Eduard Gutknecht a fight he won with a wide unanimous decision 119-110,119-109 and 119-109.
On the 27th May 2017 he got another shot at the world title when he stepped in the ring with Fedor Chudinov, and many people believed that it was now or never for Groves. In the 3rd round Groves had his jaw broken, but he continued to box well. In the 6th round Groves continued to land some huge shots, with nothing coming back from Chudinov giving the referee no choice but to stop the fight. So finally at the 4th time of asking he became a world champion.
After winning the world title he decided to enter the World Boxing Super Series. On 14th October 2017 he took on Jamie Cox in the quarter finals. He out boxed Cox from the opening bell until the 4th round when he landed a well placed body shot to end the fight. Which meant the he would take on Chris Eubank Jr in the semi final.
On the 17th February 2018 George Groves and Chris Eubank when to war to see who would face Callum Smith in the final. Groves was able to control large parts of the fight behind his jab following it up with good counter shots. Eubank suffered a bad cut on his eye and blood flowed throughout the fight, in the final round Groves dislocated his shoulder but he was able to make it to the final bell to win the fight by unanimous decision 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113.
Despite making it to the final it was thrown into doubt as nobody knew if he would be fully recovered to compete in the final. However on the 28th October 2018 he stepped in the ring with Callum Smith in the final of the World Boxing Super Series. From the opening bell Smith made a fast start beating Groves to the punch and Groves was starting to look a bit shot warn. As the fight went on the more control Smith took and in the 7th round Smith scored the knockout. In his post fight interview he didn’t rule out retirement as he admitted he didn’t know were he was going to go from here.
On Monday this week the 28th January he made his decision by releasing this statement on social media:
He ends he’s career with an impressive record of 28-4 with 20 knockouts.
I started this post by asking what will George Groves be remembered for I think he will be remembered as one of boxing’s characters who didn’t give up until he reached his goal. As always I love to hear what you guys think has George Groves made the right decision?