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Groves defends WBA super-middleweight title

2018-02-18 06:28
George Groves (AFP)

Manchester - George Groves' place in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final is in doubt after his unanimous points win over Chris Eubank Jr on Saturday.

Groves earned scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 over his English rival at the Manchester Arena, but went straight from the ring to hospital after suffering a suspected dislocated left shoulder in the last round.

Victory over Eubank in a second defence of his World Boxing Association (WBA) super-middleweight title also secured Groves a place in the final of the eight-man tournament.

The WBSS final had been set to take place at the O2 Arena in London on June 2, but Groves' trainer Shane McGuigan said there are now concerns over whether the champion will be fit by then.

"He suffered a shoulder injury in the last round, we don't know what that it is at the moment but hopefully he can box again soon," McGuigan told a press conference.

"After a performance like that he's the best super-middleweight on the planet. We fulfilled the game plan to the T and executed it perfectly. We beat them on many different levels.

"It's a massive concern for the tournament. George Groves' health is paramount."

Kalle Sauerland, promoter and co-founder of the WBSS, said the tournament's duration is finite. "We have scope of when the tournament must be completed," he said.

"We will wait until Monday. With those sort of injuries you can train very quickly again -- if it's a case of it just popping out. No one knows until it has been scanned."

Sauerland said that despite losing to Groves, Eubank could find himself in the WBSS final if Groves is ruled out through injury.

"He will definitely be on the list," said Sauerland. "It's a decision that's taken by the (WBSS) board. I will make my recommendations."

Eubank Jr, 28, said he was hampered by a cut above his right eye suffered in the third round.

"This is the first time I've been cut in my career," he told reporters.

"I couldn't see out of my right eye for pretty much most of the fight and that affected my style. I had to resort to loading up. Every time he moved to my right, I couldn't see him.

"In the later rounds I was hurting him with a lot of shots. I thought I did enough in the later rounds to nick it, but George had a good game plan."

Groves smothered Eubank when he tried to get close to him and was more accurate with his jab.

Eubank, who could not land enough clean shots or put the champion under sustained pressure, said he felt Groves should have been penalised for what was judged an accidental clash of heads in the third round.

"George headbutted me a lot in that fight and I didn't know how he didn't have a point taken away from him," said Eubank.

Eubank's father Chris Sr, who was world middleweight and super-middleweight champion in the 1990s, admitted Groves deserved the decision.

"He [Junior] didn't perform," said Eubank Sr. "He's a lot better than what you saw because he was loading up. He didn't close him down. No combinations, just power, but that's okay, he will live and learn.

"George fought the right fight, staying off, feinting, and when he came in, he held. It was perfect tactics."

England's Callum Smith and Germany's Juergen Braehmer meet on February 24 in the other WBSS semi-final.

Read more on:    boxing


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