By Frank Warren
SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT is one of boxing’s newer divisions but it has proved a fertile hunting ground for British talent.
Since the 12-stone class was added in 1984, we have delivered 10 world champions.
And I expect current Commonwealth king George Groves to soon join an impressive roster that includes Benn, Eubank, Collins, Calzaghe and Froch.
The 24-year-old from Hammersmith is a former two-time ABA champion and has already bagged British and Commonwealth titles while running up an impressive 15-fight unbeaten slate in the pros.
This year, frustratingly, Saint George’s progress has been stifled by back and nose injuries.
The latter caused his withdrawal from a May challenge to then WBO king Robert Stieglitz in Germany — and I’d have backed George strongly to have won.
However, in his solitary 2012 gig in July, Groves did add several US admirers to an already substantial fan base when he overcame a nasty cut to clatter a teak-tough Mexican in six, over in San Jose.
The kid has star quality, solid technical skills, a concussive dig and bottle to burn.
His trainer-manager Adam Booth always ensures he turns up properly prepared. He is intelligent, articulate and not bad looking — which makes him easy to promote. More importantly the public like him.
Next Saturday on my ExCel Arena promotion, George bids to recover lost ground against Jamaican warhorse Glencoffe Johnson.
A former world light-heavyweight champion, ‘The Road Warrior’ has been stopped just once in 70 fights, spanning 19 years. He is guaranteed to provide a stern test.
Groves should be too quick and too fresh, although a stoppage win would be quite a feat. And next year I’ll be placing the full force of my promotional machine behind securing him his world title shot.
While Groves will perform to a packed house next weekend, his arch-rival James DeGale — the reigning European champion — returns to duty tonight in Hull.
I signed DeGale to a lucrative pro deal after he struck gold and became a national sweetheart at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, despite steering him to the British and continental crowns, ‘Chunky’ paid me to release him from our contract earlier this year.
Groves has now beaten DeGale twice — once in the amateurs — and, although I felt DeGale nicked their last spat, George has developed more in the interim and would make it a hat-trick if the two squared off again any time soon.
Another British super-middle challenges for world glory tonight when Belfast’s Brian Magee contests the vacant WBA belt against Mikkel Kessler in Denmark.
The cagey 37-year-old Irish southpaw is unlikely to win but would be an excellent test for Groves in the New Year.
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You’re out, Freddie
CRICKET legend Andrew Flintoff can match fellow heavyweight Rocky Marciano by retiring undefeated!
Several pro fighters were resistant to the huge publicity Freddie’s points win over a limited American generated. But that reeks of jealousy and the exercise was never dressed up as anything other than a clash of raw novices.
Freddie is an iconic sportsman who challenged himself and proved he is a winner.
Well done, sir. No need to do it again!
He’s making Haye
CONGRATULATIONS to David Haye for the way he conducted himself in the Australian jungle.
I’ve criticised The Hayemaker following a few silly publicity stunts and crass comments.
But clearly he is maturing and the public obviously liked him. He was also fantastic to work with earlier this year.
David showed his humane, intelligent side and did the sport of boxing a big favour.
Expect him to challenge Vitali Klitschko for the WBC belt next spring.