By Lee Elford
For many observers, March 16th at Wembley Arena is Judgement day. Englandís British and Commonwealth champion George Groves, 14-0 (11), takes on former Commonwealth gold medallist Kenny Anderson, 15-1 (11), of Scotland in a mouth watering battle of Britain to end any doubts as to who is the better fighter.
Back in November 2010, the two fighters come face to face after Grovesís original opponent pulled out, leaving ĎThe Saintí high and dry, having already peaked, waiting a further fortnight to face the Edinburgh aggressor.
What materialised was a tough but entertaining slugfest. Groves would be put down for the first time in his career and looked to be heading to defeat, before digging deep and stopping his man in the sixth, Andersonís only professional defeat.
In the aftermath, there was plenty to cause debate. Anderson claimed to have been undercooked after taking the fight at short notice and insisted he would have finished off the Hammersmith man with sufficient preparation. Groves hit back, revealing that Anderson had been in full training for a fight, sparring none other than Carl ĎThe Cobraí Froch.
Whatís for sure is there will be no arguments next time. Groves goes into the fight the favourite after a huge win over James DeGale back in May to add the British title to his collection and an even more impressive two round blast out of tough Liverpudlian Paul Smith Jr. in November. On the contrary, Kenny Anderson hasnít fought a twelve rounder since, stopping relative journeyman with significant ease, and he is about to face a fighter who has improved technically and physically.
ďWithout a doubt,Ē Groves confirmed to BoxingScene.com when this was put to him.† ďI think Iím a better fighter in many departments, gaining experience having more time in the gym becoming a better fighter. Iíve had over a year now training with my strength coach who said from day one you wonít get results over night. Strength work is a very gradual, accumulative process thatíll take years to build. Iím not at my physical peak yet but Iím definitely a lot stronger than I was 15 months ago and the results are in the gym, and I think the results are showing in the fights as well.Ē
With both fighters having the correct preparation this time out, George still envisages an easier nightís work upon their return bout, claiming to have tidied up the mistakes he made first time around.
ďWhether or not Anderson has made improvements, I still envision this to be an easier fight, because I boxed the wrong fight last time. Iíve improved in many ways since then. Iíve had great experience boxing a variety of sparring partners over the past 15 months or whatever itís been. Iíve been in a twelve round contest (vs. Degale) and my up close fighting has come on leaps and bounds; thatís what Iíve been doing in the gym.
ďWe knew how desperate he was to push for a mandatory; we had that in the back of our minds so weíve been working on stuff which is kind of geared towards someone of Andersonís style. We were kind of working towards that anyway with the last defence against Paul Smith whoís an aggressive orthodox fighter so itís much the same.
ďI donít think Anderson will be doing anything different than what he did last time, because heís only had three or four rounds of boxing. He hasnít boxed anyone of class heís stopped them all in about one round. I canít see him making any improvements at this latter stage of his career; you donít u-turn your style you stick with what youíve got.íí
George gave Boxingscene an insight into their recent press conference. In 2010 the Scottish boxer attempted to get under his skin, flicking the hat off of Groves in a heated head to head at the weigh in. Anderson was much more reserved this time, and even declined a ĎFace Offí for Boxnation, like the recent entertaining Vitali Klitschko and Derek Chisora televised psyche out.
ďIt seemed he wasnít relying on the excuses he made before about the last fight and the reasons why he got beat,Ē said Groves. ďMaybe he was just using those excuses to get the fight in the first place, and now that heís got the fight heís achieved his goal. We were supposed to do a face off for Boxnation and that would have been great being face to face, telling it as it is.
ďMy only real experience of that was on the Ringside show when I did it with Degale and I think I won a major psychological battle that day. I would have been more than capable of doing the same if not worse if me and Kenny were sitting in the same room. There would have been home truths and he wouldnít have had any answer to it, which would have dented his confidence a bit.Ē
Should ĎThe Saintí successfully defend his British title at Wembley arena, it would mean just one more domestic victory to win the Lonsdale belt outright. Both Adam Booth and George himself have stated several times that he wonít be fighting the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward for another 12-18 months as he continues to improve as a fighter.† But he is unsure as to whether or not his next fight would be at domestic level.
ďItís hard to tell. Iím at that stage now where I could step up if the opportunity was there; I really do want to win the British title outright. The belt Iíve got is actually a really good belt itís got some great names on it Iíd want to keep it myself Ė I wouldnít want to give it back! I will have to vacate it for another title at some stage. I would love to be able to defend it again but you can never make plans in boxing because anything can happen.Ē
He added: ďIím pretty much ranked in the top ten of all the word governing bodies now, Iím number seven with Ring magazine so, itís about improving those world rankings I think. Some of the fighters in there are like me, young and unbeaten. They are hard to match up against because they donít want to lose their unbeaten records. I think Iíve showed that I donít care, Iíve fought unbeaten fighters from early doors and a lot of these fighters donít share that respect.
ďThere are a couple of other experienced fighters who are, maybe, on their way down and they are ones Iíd love to have. Iím looking for meaningful fights that will make me work and make me improve as a fighter.† I donít have any specific names but there are plenty of Americans out there. I think itíd be nice to get out and box in America this year and start building my name a little stateside. My career will probably include some time over there fighting for and defending world titles.ĒTags: George Groves , Kenny Anderson , Groves-Anderson , Groves vs Anderson