WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye has tipped stablemate George Groves to emulate his own ring exploits and claim a world title. Groves, 23, defeated Olympic gold medallist James DeGale on points last weekend to add the British super-middleweight title to his Commonwealth strap Haye believes the double domestic champion is only just getting started.
"George proved a lot of people wrong on Saturday night, but his performance was no surprise to me or his trainer Adam Booth," said Haye.
"We've always believed George has the style, intelligence and ability to get the better of James and that's what played out at the weekend. George boxed beautifully at times and was giving DeGale problems he had never encountered before.
"George never made any crazy claims or boasts before the fight, and always remained quietly confident and humble. As a result, people warmed to him and got behind him on the night.
"It was an incredible feeling to walk with George towards the ring at the O2 Arena and hear the cheers of over 15,000 fans. The whole atmosphere felt like a world title fight between two experienced champions.
"It's easy to forget that George is a British and Commonwealth champion with only 13 professional bouts to his name. If Saturday night was a sign of things to come, George can look forward to many more packed-out nights in big arenas. That fight alone has made him an overnight star."
Despite inevitable calls for a rematch, DeGale's plans look to have been scuppered by British Boxing Board of Control Secretary Robert Smith.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "An immediate rematch is out of the question. The Board will not be ordering a re-match. There was nothing controversial or contentious about it. No one broke any rules. Why would the Board order a rematch?"
Though he has no doubt his training partner would once again defeat DeGale in any return, Haye would like to now see Groves spread his wings and escape the bitter 10-year rivalry that helped build Saturday's battle into a pay-per-view event.
"George has the world at his feet right now and has that perfect combination of ability, likeability and titles," said Haye. "DeGale might claim the first of those three things, but he's lacking the other two.
"I truly believe that now George has established himself as the best super-middleweight on the domestic scene he can go on and become one of the most popular and successful British fighters of the next era."
Tags: David Haye , James DeGale , George Groves , DeGale vs Groves , DeGale-Groves