Last night George ‘Saint’ Groves made a successful return to the ring following his devastating knock out loss to Carl Froch in one of Britain’s biggest ever fights.
Groves had a series of acts rehearsed before he entered the ring, with fire and trumpets just a part of the show. It was a typically Sauerland based-promotion, with these type of activities are normal in Germany on a big fight night.
Groves faced off with the European champion Christopher Rebrasse of France in Wembley Arena, just a stone's throw away from the location of his defeat a few months ago. The crowd was a fantastic one, with loud cheering and singing throughout the fight.
Groves has built a good fan base and seems set to be a big British star for years to come.The 26-year-old started very quickly, with his jab landing frequently on the relatively static Rebrasse.
The Frenchman came into the fight more in the later rounds and he showed the ability to soak up a lot of pressure and keep on going, but was ultimately out of his depth.
Groves looked pretty comfortable throughout but he wasn’t ever really able to put Rebrasse under enough pressure to force him out of there. The judges scored the fight a unanimous decision win in favour of Groves with the scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.
In his post-fight interview the Hammersmith native said: "It feels great. It was a tough fight. Rebrasse was a good opponent, a tough guy, he took an awful lot of punches. I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t want to run out of steam, I felt in great condition but you always have to be cautious against a guy who has never been stopped. I want to knock people out. I didn’t manage it tonight but I gave it a real good go.”
Anthony Dirrell next up
When asked about Anthony Dirrell the current WBC champion and the man that Groves is now in line to face having become mandatory challenger, Groves said: "He’s already done some statements, he’s a bit cheeky, a little bit outspoken. He’s been very disrespectful. Disrespectful to Rebrasse. I knock out a lot of guys and he took a lot on the chin tonight, Dirrell – I’m not sure he’ll stand up to that.“
“He got his win, he’s champion, I’ll give him that respect, but he says he doesn’t want to come to the UK, we might just make him. He says he doesn’t want to fight me, but now he has to.”
There appears to be a good rivalry between Groves and Dirrell building but there have been questions posed whether Groves should take that fight straight away. He performed well against Rebrasse but he was still hit with a few shots that a man of his ability wouldn’t expect to be hit.
This was in truth a decent opponent but does that prepare Groves for a shot at a world title? It is hard to say. Groves has proven in his fights with Froch that he is a world-class fighter, but having had two losses in a row before this fight can he risk another loss against Dirrell this quickly?
Groves is still very young and some may suggest that he should look to have another fight or two before looking to fight for a world title again. This is not a view shared by all with myself included.
Dirrell is a decent boxer but he is not in the class of a Carl Froch or Andre Ward and Groves can definitely beat him if he is disciplined enough.
Groves has good power in either hand, an excellent jab, good movement and very good hand speed. He seems to have all that it takes to be a world champion but the division is stacked with talent and the route to the top needs to be planned carefully.
Carl Froch takes shot at ringside
Carl Froch was there working for Sky and Groves turned his attention to the Nottingham man during his post-fight interview.
"Carl, you stopped me twice, but I still think I can beat you. I’d love to have another crack so if you’re up for it, maybe next year, who knows? I’m up for it.”.
Froch dismissed the chance of a third instalment and the dislike between the two seems no lessened since their two fights.
This was a return in which Groves proved that there are no demons haunting him following his loss to Froch earlier in the year and he was dominant but questions about his stamina and chin still remain.