By Nick Parkinson
GEORGE GROVES hopes winning the World Boxing Super Series will see him rated among boxing’s pound-for-pound elite.
Londoner Groves makes a first defence of his WBA world super-middleweight title against Swindon’s Jamie Cox in the eight-man tournament’s quarter-finals at Wembley Arena on Saturday.
The winner progresses to face either Brighton’s Chris Eubank Jr., who knocked out Turkey’s Avni Yildirim - who fought last night - in January’s semi-finals.
Groves, 29, believes winning the Super Series will see him ranked ahead of bitter rival James DeGale, who is not in the tournament, and considered among boxing’s best over all weight divisions.
He said: “I was running round a few years ago telling everyone that everything happens for a reason but this tournament has come round for me at the right time.
“Andre Ward retired the other week and I thought, ‘Good on him’. He’s obviously thought, ‘This is enough now’, and he has made that decision.
“I’m not ready to do that but I hope when I am I will be able to do the same thing.
“Once Ward moved up out of the super-middleweight division there’s no real superstar in it, including myself, and at the end of this tournament I will be able to say I’m one of the pound-for-pound best out there.
“If I need a couple more fights to get into that pound-for-pound list I’m capable of it and that will be the final goal, to get pound-for-pound top five, top ten.
“A tournament will help me on the way. That’s what happened to Andre Ward, he went for it as a contender who turned pro, an Olympic champion, won the Super Six tournament in 2011 and came out of it a top pound-for-pound fighter.”
Groves became world champ at the fourth attempt after stoppage losses to Nottingham’s Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014 before losing a split points decision to Sweden’s Badou Jack two years ago.
Then came a dominant points win over Kazakhstan’s Germany-based Eduard Gutknecht, who suffered life-changing head injuries from the fight, in a wheelchair and unable to talk.
Groves admits he is haunted by Gutknecht’s condition but it has not put him off achieving more in boxing.
He said: “I can’t do anything about my situation yet, I need to carry on boxing, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I just have to put it to the back of my mind.
“It does make me reassess things. Not just me but my mum and dad, wife, close friends and family. They will be happy when I say I’ve had enough and call it a day because of the risks that come with boxing.
“But it is what it is. I still need to box, I still want to box and until that changes, that’s what I’m going to be doing.”