By Alexey Sukachev
O2 Arena, London, England - In the heavily hyped super middleweight grudge fight, Commonwealth champion George Groves (13-0, 11KOs) defeated British champion and 2008 Olympic Gold medal winner James DeGale (10-1, 8KOs) in a very close and tactical fight. Groves won a twelve round majority decision. Many of the rounds were close and very difficult to score. The scores were 115-115, 115-114, 115-114. The fight was a rematch; Groves beat DeGale in the amateur ranks.
DeGale came out in the lead, but he was very cautious, and so was Groves. They were both using a good jab and looking to land something big. DeGale was throwing more combinations. Neither boxer was able to land anything clean until the final ten seconds when the two fighters traded punches.
In the second, the same layout played out in the first minute, but Groves quickly began to land some very nice punches when DeGale walked in. Other than using a good jab, DeGale didn't do much to answer back. Groves was going to the body with hooks on the inside when DeGale came in close.
DeGale was fighting dirty. He used an elbow in the third and was warned in the previous round for using his shoulder. DeGale looked better and started cutting off the ring to land a few punches. Groves was countering from the back foot and tying to stay away from DeGale punches.
In the fourth, Degale was stepping in with his jab and looking for something big. Groves did not allow him to accomplish anything and used combination punching to the head and body to push DeGale back.
Groves was using angles in the fifth and circling to frustrate DeGale. The Olympian started pushing the issue and attacking Groves, who answered back with combinations. Groves began to swell under his left eye.
There was a slow start to the sixth. They were being very cautious and for the first time it was Groves who was leading and DeGale was working off the back foot. DeGale landed a big combination and Groves took it well. Later in the round another hard right hand caught Groves flush in the final ten seconds.
In the seventh, DeGale was pot-shotting Groves with hard left hands off the jab. DeGale was winning the exchanges on the inside and catching Groves with crisp shots. Groves remained calm, walking away on the back foot and countering when needed.
Both boxers were once again going at a slower pace in the eight. DeGale was picking his shots and Groves was countering when needed. A few good exchanges in the final minute with both boxers connecting well.
DeGale was pushing forward in the ninth and Groves was countering back. DeGale was digging to the body. A clash of heads produced a cut on the left eye of Groves. DeGale picked up the pace and was landing some very good shots on Groves, who had no answers. During a good exchange in the final twenty seconds, Groves was stunned and DeGale tried to follow-up with a few combinations. The bell rang before DeGale could do more damage.
In the tenth, DeGale was stalking and looking to do more damage. Groves countered with some good body punches. DeGale was cut on the left eyelid and it was bothering him. They were trading good punches in the final minute with Groves getting the better of the exchanges.
A cut opened up on the forehead of Groves in the eleventh. Both boxers were landing good punches and looking to win it big. DeGale was getting off, and landing better. Due to his two cuts, Groves was having some trouble during the action.
To start off the twelfth, neither boxer threw any punches for the first minute. In the second minute, DeGale let his hands go and started landing good punches to the head and body of Groves. DeGale was doing some good damage during the action. They traded punches in the final ten seconds.