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Hellraiser Boxing News | The Hellraiser Weekender: George Groves- For The Record
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The Hellraiser Weekender: George Groves- For The Record

by Matt Lewis

For The Record is a series that discusses a boxer's five most recent opponents, and explores what progress those opponents have made since facing them.

This time we look at the opponents of WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves, who next faces Chris Eubank Jnr in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

Groves vs Brophy

David Brophy - 9th April 2016 – Groves W TKO4

Groves’ second comeback fight since losing to Badou Jack in Las Vegas, September 2015. The first was against Andrea Di Luisa, whom he stopped in the fifth, and Groves went one better against Brophy, who was halted in the fourth round in London. Brophy, from Scotland, had a somewhat limited CV prior to facing Groves; he hadn't faced anyone of great repute, had only gone 10 rounds once, and had a single knockout to his name, so no one was surprised when he failed to go the full distance against Groves.

Following the loss, though, Brophy improved; a knockout win in his returning contest followed by a points win in Glasgow set him up for a Commonwealth title showdown with unbeaten Australian Zac Dunn in Melbourne at the start of 2017. The money was on Dunn to take a convincing hometown win, but Brophy, fighting outside the UK for the first time, stopped his man in the 7th after Dunn's corner threw in the towel. But the Scot wasn't able to capitalise on the momentum; since then, he has been knocked out by Rocky Fielding in the first round of their September British and Commonwealth clash, and there has been no news since of when we may see him next.

  1. Martin Murray - 25th June 2016 – Groves W UD12

An excellent piece of matchmaking. Murray had proven his mettle at both domestic and world level, and admirable performances against Gennady Golovkin (at middleweight) and Arthur Abraham kept him within world title contention. This defeat to Groves, however, stalled those ambitions once again. His next fight against unbeaten Nuhu Lawal in Monaco was to be his last at super-middleweight, after labouring to an unconvincing points win. Murray went back down a division to rebuild as a middleweight, and so far has looked good; he took a majority decision win over the tough Gabriel Rosado in April, knocked out Arman Torosyan in 2 rounds in September, and is now gunning for former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs who, like Murray, is promoted by Eddie Hearn. Even though he was out of his preferred weight class when facing Groves, the revival of his career at 160lbs should be enough to convince many that he is a) not to be taken lightly, and b) an ever-improving entry on Groves' resume.

Grove vs Gutknect

  1. Eduard Gutknecht - 18th November 2016 – Groves W UD12

A great fight with a terrible ending. Gutknecht was without a big win when the two faced one another, but he had only lost to excellent opposition, and most of those losses came via world title challenges in which the champions (Robert Stieglitz once and Juergen Braehmer twice) were forced to go the full 12 rounds. Groves was made to do the same, although Gutknecht's bravery and resilience came at a price. He collapsed in the dressing room after enduring serious punishment from Groves, and was taken to hospital to address a bleed on the brain.

Gutknecht was put into a coma, transported back to Germany for further treatment, and now lives at home in a wheelchair, unable to walk or talk. Yet another reminder to all concerned that the risks of this sport are real, the consequences can be severe, and we should think twice before criticising a referee for 'stepping in too early'.

  1. Fedor Chudinov - 27th May 2017 – Groves W TKO6

Chudinov, tough but limited, had nevertheless walked through a serious shellacking to take the WBA super-middleweight from Felix Sturm in May 2015. He made a successful defence against Frank Buglioni, lost it to Sturm in the rematch, but was re-awarded the belt following Sturm's retirement by virtue of being WBA 'regular' champion. Groves, at the fourth time of asking, needed no encouragement to take this opportunity, and stopped Chudinov on his feet in the sixth.

However, despite the knockout, the Russian was quick to bounce back from this defeat with a knockout of his own, against Jonathan Geronimo Barbadillo in Moscow just two months later, and moved even closer to re-establishing himself with a points victory against unbeaten Canadian Ryan Ford in December, ending 2017 on a high.  He returns to the top 5 rankings of the WBA, and is back on the trail of a world title. With Groves as WBA World Champion and Chudinov as the new WBA International champion, these two could well meet again in the future.

Groves vs Cox

  1. Jamie Cox - 14th October 2017 – Groves W KO4

As luck would have it, four of the eight super-middleweights in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) are British, and these two faced off for an all British quarter final at Wembley. The winner would face Chris Eubank Jnr in the semi final (a unification fight of sorts, for the WBA and IBO titles) next year, a match that has fans excited the world over. Groves, with the better CV and a high boxing IQ, was the pick of the pair, and wasted no time in throwing vicious hooks into the ribs of Cox, who was downed by a huge body shot in the fourth, and he stayed down for the full count.

Where Cox goes from here is uncertain, as little has been heard from the Swindon man since the loss. Facing Groves put him on the boxing map despite the one-sided defeat, and we may see him feature in high profile domestic fights in the future – prior to the WBSS, Cox held a spate of alphabet European and Continental titles which he defended against obscure and largely uninspiring opposition. A match with Rocky Fielding for the British title, for example, would be much more interesting, and would work well either as a headline bout in a smaller arena or on the undercard of a big stadium event. He has only been beaten once, and with the correct career management, will return as a contender soon.

To read Tony Bellew's For The Record, CLICK HERE

Posted: 15th Dec 2017

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