By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten super middleweight contender George Groves will next face former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson at the Excel Arena in London on December 15. The news was formally announced during a press conference Wednesday afternoon in London.
“It will be my toughest challenge,” Groves (15-0, 12KO) said of the fight. “No one has an easy fight against Glen Johnson.”
The news came as a bit of a surprise, given that Johnson (51-17-2, 35KO) announced his retirement earlier this summer after a points loss to Andrzej Fonfara. While not uncommon for any fighter to break such a promise, the fact that Johnson is 43 years old and has lost five of his last seven contests led many to believe that this one would stick.
That said, Groves is still prepared for the very best version of Johnson.
“I’m buzzing for the fight and am preparing for 12 hard rounds because he will give anyone a hard night’s work. I’ll be ready.”
The bout will be Groves’ second of a 2012 campaign that has been slowed by injuries. He has fought just twice since scoring to date a career-best win over James ‘Chunky’ DeGale last May. Plans for a rematch with Kenny Anderson were twice thwarted due to injuries and other factors, leading to his being stripped of a regional title.
Groves’ last ring appearance was a 7th round stoppage of Francisco Sierra, which took place in the United States on the undercard of Robert Guerrero’s thrilling points win over Selcuk Aydin. The showdown with Johnson will also in supporting capacity, serving as the co-feature to Ricky Burns’ next lightweight title defense against an opponent to be determined.
The plan for Groves is to end an otherwise frustrating year with a bang before eying the top fighters in a loaded 168 lb. division in 2013.
“It’ll be a tough challenge but I’m ready for it,” Groves insisted. “I’ve felt ready for quite a while. I’m heading in the right direction for a world title.”
The show will air live in the U.K. on Boxnation.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: