By Frank Warren
Bitter rivals George Groves and James DeGale are on the same side for once as they both fight on foreign soil in their upcoming fights.
European super-middleweight champion DeGale has got a tough assignment when he heads to Denmark to defend his title against the former Champion Cristian Sanavia from Italy on April 21st.
While two weeks’ later Groves ventures into Germany to challenge the tricky Russian Robert Stieglitz for his WBO World Super-Middleweight title.
The feuding pair don’t like each other, but this time they could be willing each other to win in order to line up the grudge rematch that all boxing fans’ want to see.
Hammersmith ace Groves beat DeGale in May last year to take his British title in a very close and controversial fight that could have gone either way, plus Groves already holds a win over DeGale in the amateurs.
It’s a rivalry that reminds me of the Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank days that captivated fight fans in the 90s and still talk about today.
Since the loss to Groves, DeGale, from neighboring Harlesden in North West London, stormed back to win the European title against the hard Pole Piotr Wilczewski last October, but showed his fighting heart to come through some stormy moments in the fifth round before winning on the judges’ scorecards.
Last Saturday in Germany Wilczewski extended Arthur Abraham, a former IBF World Middleweight Champion, the twelve-round distance which puts into perspective DeGale’s win and Abraham could now get a shot at the winner of Stieglitz and Groves.
Sanavia is 37 now and hopefully his best days are behind him, but he’s won his last five fights and could give James a few problems, but I expect James to prevail.
Groves is the first Brit to challenge for the WBO title since Joe Calzaghe vacated it after holding the belt for ten years’ and making 21 defences - a record for a British fighter and the third highest all-time defences behind the great heavyweight Joe Louis and cruiserweight king Dariusz Michalczewski.
He was due to face Scotsman Kenny Anderson in a defence of his British title last month that I won the purse bids to stage, but he had to withdraw because of an injury, I’m looking to reschedule it for 30th June.
For any British fighter it’s a risk going to Germany, just ask recent visitors Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray who found out that they get no favours over there. Groves is aware that if it goes the distance then it’s unlikely that his hand will be raised at the end so he’s going to have to go out there and really do a number on Stieglitz.
He’s got the firepower with 11 of his 14 wins going early and he looked dynamite stopping the solid former British champion Paul Smith last time out.
The same night Groves fights Stieglitz, it’s going to be a massive night of boxing on dedicated fight channel BoxNation who will also cover the biggest fight of the year so far between, arguably, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Floyd Mayweather Jnr. against the exciting Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, plus former world number one Sugar Shane Mosley against hot young Mexican star Saul Alvarez.
Referee Marcus McDonnell was withdrawn from officiating the forthcoming British lightweight title fight between Anthony Crolla and Derry Matthews after he put on Twitter that Matthews was “a good guy”.
The British Boxing Board of Control acted swiftly after a complaint from Crolla’s trainer who felt it was biased.
Mexico’s Yori Boy Campas became a boxing centurion last Saturday night when he knocked up 100 wins after knocking out Mauro Lucero in the second round.
The former IBF World Middleweight Champion, now 40, has been boxing for nearly 25 years and joins fellow centurion and Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez.
Although he’s still got a long way to go to catch up with double centurions Willie Pep and Maxie Rosenbloom.
The NY Daily News Golden Gloves, America’s biggest amateur boxing tournament, has a new home.
From April 2013 it will move from the iconic Madison Square Garden to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn which is being built at the moment.
Over here the ABA Finals were once held at Wembley Arena and you couldn’t get a ticket for it, next week’s final is taking place at the York Hall.
With the Team GB squad announced for the final Olympic qualifier in Turkey later this month, there will be a wave of boxers who didn’t make the selection for London 2012 now looking to turn pro.
With Rio 2016 still a long way off, the highly talented featherweight Iain Weaver, who recently lost out to Luke Campbell, heavyweight Simon Vallily and featherweight Martin Ward are going to have to make some big decisions.
Beijing Olympian Khalid Yafai lost his spot to Welshman Andrew Selby who’s brother Lee is the current British and Commonwealth Featherweight Champion and defends his title next month in Newport.
Meanwhile the Senior ABA finals will take place at York hall on Friday 13th April and are back on TV they will be shown live on BoxNation.
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