By Keith Idec
As good as Chris Eubank Jr. has looked in his recent fights, George Groves believes they’re operating on different levels.
That’s why Groves is so confident he’ll beat Eubank in their February 17 fight in Manchester, England. Both boxers discussed their much-anticipated domestic showdown Tuesday during a press conference in Manchester for their World Boxing Super Series semifinal matchup at Manchester Arena.
“This is different,” Groves said. “I used to hear people talk about levels and it used to frustrate me a little bit at the start. You start your career and you hear people talk about levels. James DeGale used to use it a lot, and I never really understood it. But I have come full circle and I do understand that, you know, sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you prepare or how many things go in your favor, that there’s just people that you can’t beat.
“And I’m sorry to say for Junior that he’s not good enough. He doesn’t have the pedigree, doesn’t have the ability. He can get as fit as he wants. I mean, he stays in good shape all year round. But most legit athletes don’t do that. You peak, especially fighters, because we don’t fight every week. We’ll set a date and we prepare for it. You know? And that is what I will do. And on the night, I believe I’m unstoppable, certainly in the super middleweight division.”
The 29-year-old Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and the 28-year-old Eubank (26-1, 20 KOs) will fight for Groves’ WBA world super middleweight title and Eubank’s IBO 168-pound championship. The winner will advance to the WBSS super middleweight championship match, in which he’ll face whoever moves on from the other semifinal between England’s Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) and Germany’s Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs).
Eubank, of Brighton, England, knocked out Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (16-1, 10 KOs) in the third round October 7 in Stuttgart, Germany to reach the semifinals. He dominated Armenia’s Arthur Abraham (46-6, 30 KOs) in his previous fight, a 12-rounder July 15 in London, to solidify his spot in the tournament.
“Whether he’s on an upward curve or not, he’s on a steady, marginal incline,” Groves said of Eubank, a former sparring partner. “I’m at the very top and I’m still improving. I’m still going from strength to strength. As I say, this is another stop along the way in winning this tournament. We knew the Eubank fight was coming. I begged [promoter] Kalle [Sauerland] to put in the seeding, so that I would face him in the semis.
“I knew it would be an exciting fight for the tournament, an exciting fight for me. It’s what I always intended. So we’re in, as I say, a fantastic place. I’m in terrific form. I’ve been in real fights, big fights, hard fights. I’ve got the experience to rival any current fighter right now.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.