By Jake Donovan
George Groves picked up his third win in less than three months, the latest a fifth round knockout of fringe contender Noe Gonzalez. The bout served as the chief support to the rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler at O2 Arena in London, England.
Action was a bit slow in the opening round as Groves spent most of the frame measuring up his visiting foe. The unbeaten Brit picked up the pace in round two, racing off of his stool to score with a right hand, driving Gonzalez to the ropes in the process.
A body shot in round three appeared to have lingering effects on Gonzalez, who never seemed to recover from the shot. Groves still elected to take his time, desperate to get in a few rounds after having only fought a combined five in his previous two contests.
Groves was sharp through four rounds before finding the money shot in the fifth. A counter right hand - which followed an overshooting jab, no less - was enough to put Gonzalez on the deck.
"I was looking to speed up my right hand. When it lands, it causes problems. I saw Gonzalez loading up with his right hook, and saw my opportunity," Groves observed during his post-fight interview.
The visiting fighter managed to beat the count but was ruled unfit to continue.
The official time was 0:51 of round five.
The win advances Groves' record to 19-0 (15KO), scoring three straight knockouts since joining Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport promotional company earlier this year.
Gonzalez has a modest two-fight win streak snapped as he falls to 30-3 (22KO). The Uruguayan suffered his second career stoppage loss, having been stopped in two rounds by Adonis Stevenson last April.
The three ringside judges for the rematch between Tony Bellew and Isaac Chilemba came up with the same winner and by a wider margin than most observers believed to be the case.
As long as it means the two light heavyweights never have to face each other again, we're all for it.
Less than two months after fighting to a stalemate (emphasis on stale), closure was reached Saturday evening in London as Bellew won by scores of 116-112 (twice) and 117-112. The bout served in supporting capacity to another rematch, the highly anticipated sequel between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler at O2 Arena in London, England.
The rematch was marginally more entertaining than their first fight, in which opinions varied to perhaps justify the draw verdict in March. Bellew enjoyed a late fight surge in the sequel to turn a close fight into an apparently clear decision in the eyes of the judges.
Chilemba's best moments came in the middle rounds, when he seemed to take over the fight. Bellew struggled to maintain pace or offer any sort of fluid attack, but dug deep when it mattered most to plow forward and preserve a potential title shot. The Brit sees his record improve to 20-1-1 (12KO) and is now next in line for the winner of next month's bout between lineal light heavyweight king Chad Dawson and challenger Adonis Stevenson.
Chilemba falls to 20-2-2 (9KO), coming up empty in back-to-back trips to jolly old England.
Welterweight prospect Anthony Yigit (3-0, 1KO) won an easy four round decision over Dee Mitchell (9-35-1). The sole score was 40-36. Yigit made his pro debut with a TKO win, but has now won two in row by decision.
Cruiserweight prospect Micki Nielsen (8-0, 7KOs) stopped veteran Paul Morris (5-17) in four rounds. Nielsen will return on June 15th in Denmark as part of the next edition of the ";Nordic Fight Night" series. Morris, who lost his eight straight bout, is also scheduled for another fight, against Robin Dupre (1-0) on July 13th at York Hall.
With time to kill before the main event, Callum Smith (6-0, 4KO) snuck in his fourth consecutive 1st round knockout. The most recent victim was fellow unbeaten prospect Ryan Moore. A pair of knockdowns was enough to stop Moore (3-1, 2KO) in his tracks, the end coming at 1:25 of round one.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox