By Keith Idec
The fourth time was the charm for George Groves.
London’s Groves stopped Russia’s Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round of their scheduled 12-round fight Saturday night for the vacant WBA world super middleweight title at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Groves’ victory in their WBA-mandated championship match took place on the Kell Brook-Errol Spence Jr. undercard.
The 29-year-old Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) entered the fight 0-3 in super middleweight world title fights. Chudinov, also 29, slipped to 14-2 (10 KOs) and lost a second straight title fight.
The second-ranked Groves, bleeding from a cut over his left eye, unleashed a barrage of power punches at the start of the sixth round of what had been a very competitive fight. The top-ranked Chudinov never went down, but clearly was buzzed by the array of head and body shots Groves landed and wasn’t throwing back punches.
Referee Steve Gray stepped in to stop the fight at 1:14 of the sixth round.
Before Groves got Chudinov out of there in the sixth round, the fifth round featured a great exchange near its end, when Groves and Chudinov traded power shots near the ropes. Neither fighter appeared hurt, but that changed early in the sixth round.
An accidental clash of heads caused a cut over Groves’ left eye early in the fourth round. The cut created some urgency for Groves, who landed multiple right hands and body shots as Chudinov kept coming forward.
Fighting mostly off the ropes, Groves was effective in the third round, but he couldn’t hurt Chudinov. The relentless Russian continued coming forward, no matter what Groves hit him with.
Chudinov continued to pressure Groves throughout the second round and kept Groves on his back foot. Groves landed several sharp counters while fighting off the ropes, though, to make Chudinov pay for coming forward.
Chudinov backed up Groves with several right hands in the first round, when Chudinov temporarily established himself as the harder puncher.
Groves won his fifth straight fight since losing a split decision to Badou Jack in their 12-round fight for the WBC world super middleweight championship in September 2015 in Las Vegas. His loss to Jack was Groves’ third defeat in 168-pound championship bouts in as many tries.
British rival Carl Froch stopped Groves in the ninth round of their first fight, in which Groves floored Froch in the first round. Froch also knocked out Groves in the eighth round of their rematch in May 2014.
Chudinov suffered his first professional loss in his previous fight, a controversial majority decision to Germany’s Felix Sturm in a 12-rounder 15 months ago in Oberhausen, Germany.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.