Dan Rafael: George Groves

Groves was shaky and he knows it

November, 25, 2014
Super middleweight contender George Groves admitted he did not look good in struggling to a seventh-round knockout of Denis Douglin on Saturday in Liverpool, England, on the Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II undercard.

Groves got bruised and cut on the bridge of his nose, and had his hands full until dropping Douglin with two powerful right hands to force the stoppage. In fact, after the fight, Groves (21-2, 16 KOs) gave himself a 5 on a scale of 1-10 in what was a stay-busy fight.

Groves is the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Anthony Dirrell, but that fight is several months away at the earliest, so Groves decided to remain active. He said he was troubled by Douglin’s southpaw style.

“Fighting a southpaw was different and was what I needed,” Groves said. “He was a good fighter, he was good inside and I didn't want to scrap with him inside. Good to get another stoppage and it’s on to the big one now. I want to take the quickest route to a world title and that's the Dirrell fight. I want to be a world champion and bring a world title belt to Britain. I'll be a world champion next year.”

Groves had had two opportunities already, both against British countryman and unified titleholder Carl Froch. In their first fight in November 2013, Froch scored a highly controversial ninth-round knockout in a fight he was losing. In the May rematch, Froch scored a clean eight-round knockout.

Groves has won two fights since, but Froch, who was ringside Saturday working on the Sky Sports pay-per-view, was not impressed by his rival and dogged him about his performance.

“I think he's been Cobra'd. It’s the same with Lucian Bute,” said Froch, who is nicknamed the “Cobra” and also knocked out Bute, who has not been the same since. “(Groves) was in there struggling with a light middleweight. He was getting caught by shots that at world level would knock him out.”

Groves would love a third shot at Froch (33-2, 24 KOs). James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs), another British contender, who lost a majority decision to Groves in 2011 and also won on Saturday’s card, is one of Froch’s mandatory challengers.

“Let DeGale and Groves fight each other and maybe I will fight the winner, but it's a mismatch,” Froch said. “DeGale beats Groves every day of the week.”

Huck looks to go out on his own

October, 1, 2014
In a significant development in German boxing, ARD, one of the country’s national television networks, which has had an exclusive output deal with Sauerland Event since 2000, will not renew its contract after Sauerland's final boxing card of the year in December.

According to sources in Germany, ARD is still open to televise some boxing, but it won’t spend nearly as much money as it had annually on the Sauerland contract, which is estimated by many at more than $10 million per year. However, ARD will also be open to working with promoters besides Sauerland, which is supposedly in talks with SAT.1, another German network, about a deal for next year.

Sauerland promotes several of Germany’s most significant fighters and other top fighters, including cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck, super middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham, cruiserweight titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez, former super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler, super middleweight contender George Groves and light heavyweight titleholder Juergen Braehmer.

However, with an expiring television contract, some fighters may look to leave the company. That is already the case with Huck, who told German newspaper Bild that he will not renew his expiring promotional agreement with the company after a decade-long relationship.

"I am very grateful to [company founder] Wilfried Sauerland, but I decided to take the reins,” Huck told Bild. “As a great champion, I want to be independent. Now I am free for Klitschko.”

Huck, who once challenged Alexander Povetkin for a heavyweight belt and was badly robbed, wants a crack at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, whose K2 Promotions rarely does business with Sauerland unless it’s a mandatory situation. Klitschko also has a deal with German network RTL. The television issues would disappear if Huck is no longer with Sauerland. To that end, Huck has formed Huck Sports Promotion.

"I dream of big fights, even in the United States,” Huck said. “I want to fight the best. Klitschko is at the top with me. I want to leave [Sauerland] in peace and hope that there will be no obstacles in the way. It was a successful time together.”

Sauerland Event did not want to discuss the television situation.

Groves eyes Dirrell title shot

September, 22, 2014
Geroge Groves, Christopher Rebrasse Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesGeorge Groves, left, earned the right to face super middleweight titlist Anthony Dirrell.

Super middleweight contender George Groves put himself in a great position by outpointing Christopher Rebrasse of France in an entertaining fight (and a dominant performance) on Saturday in London.

England’s Groves (20-2, 15 KOs) won the European title and put back-to-back knockout losses to Carl Froch in world title bouts behind him, and also put himself in position for another world title shot.

Groves’ victory made him the mandatory challenger for Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, who claimed a 168-pound world title by outpointing Sakio Bika in their rematch (of a previous draw) on Aug. 16.

Groves’ KO loss to Froch in November 2013 was heavily disputed because of the quick stoppage in a fight Groves was winning handily. Groves couldn't complain, however, about the knockout in their May rematch. But Groves looked good getting back on track against Rebrasse.

“It feels great to be back,’’ Groves said. ‘’Rebrasse was a good opponent, a very tough guy. He took an awful lot of shots and kept coming. I knew it was going to be a hard fight. I felt in good condition but you always have to be cautious against a guy that has never been stopped. I want to entertain. I want to knock people out. I didn’t manage that, but I gave it real good go. Things are only going to get better from here. We’re getting ready to take over the world.”

He's hoping for a fight with Dirrell as soon as possible.

“Dirrell has already made some statements, he’s a bit cheeky, a little bit outspoken,’’ Groves said. “He’s been quite disrespectful to Rebrasse. I knock out a lot of guys and Rebrasse took some big shots. I’m not sure Dirrell could stand up to some of the punches I landed. He has said he doesn’t want to fight me, that he doesn’t want to come to the U.K., but now he may just have to.”

There’s no doubt that there is more money for a Dirrell-Groves fight in England than in the United States. Dirrell essentially has no fan base, which is why both of his title fights with Bika were on Showtime undercards and neither did anything to help the gate. Groves, however, is a draw in England and was a big part of why the rematch with Froch drew some 80,000 to Wembley Stadium in London.

Groves’ promoter, Kalle Sauerland, said he is ready to begin negotiating Dirrell-Groves.

“Before this fight [against Rebrasse] I described George as one of the most exciting boxers on the planet,” Sauerland said. “After [Saturday’s] performance my mind hasn’t changed one bit. We’re ready to start talking to Dirrell's people [adviser Al Haymon]. I don’t see any other options for them. There are no bigger fights out there. George is a natural entertainer inside and outside the ring. He has a style that would be very appealing to a U.S. audience.”

Groves gets back to work

September, 19, 2014
Froch/GrovesMatchroom Boxing England's George Groves looks to rebound on Saturday from a pair of losses to Carl Froch.
After back-to-back knockout losses to Carl Froch -- the first one highly controversial in November 2013 and the second one clean as a whistle in May -- super middleweight contender George Groves will look to put those disappointments behind him on Saturday.

Groves (19-2, 15 KOs) will fight at Wembley Arena in his hometown of London and challenge Christopher Rebrasse (22-2-3, 6 KOs) of France for the European 168-pound title.

Not only is the bout for Rebrasse's European belt, but the 12-round fight also serves as a world title eliminator. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for newly crowned titleholder Anthony Dirrell.

Groves, 26, has been focused on Rebrasse and a possible future world title shot rather than dwelling on the clean eighth-round knockout loss to Froch in front of some 80,000 in May.

"We've assessed Rebrasse as a fighter and we know the challenges he poses," Groves said. "He is big for the weight, throws a lot of punches and needs to be taken seriously. But this is my moment. I'm going to get in there, get the win, and show all the super middleweights in the world that I'm back and I mean business.

"Dirrell has been doing a lot of talking. He has said that he won't fight me, that I don't deserve a shot, but I think that just proves he's scared. We've had a letter from the WBC confirming a mandatory shot if I win this fight. Once I'm done with Rebrasse, I'm coming for him."

If Groves wins, promoter Kalle Sauerland said he will start the process of making a fight with Dirrell.

"We've got the money, we've got the talent, we've got the fans, we've got the market," Sauerland said. "We're ready for Dirrell. But make no mistake -- we have to focus on Saturday. We must not get ahead of ourselves. But I am confident that George will take care of business on Saturday night. He is one of the most exciting fighters on the planet."

Rebrasse, 28, has fought three of his last four fights in Italy -- with all of his other fights in France -- and has no problem fighting in Groves' hometown. Rebrasse is looking to ruin Groves' world title ambitions.

"I'm not a big talker. I prefer to do my talking in the ring. But what I will say is that I'm here to defend my titles and beat Groves on his home turf," Rebrasse said in translated remarks. "He is a good fighter but I have trained very hard. He is just the next step for me on my way to the top."

It's make or break for DeGale

May, 29, 2014
Davis-DeGaleAP Photo/Gareth Fuller/PA WireJames DeGale enters Saturday's bout with Brandon Gonzales on the verge of a world title shot.
The big fight Saturday in London is the much-anticipated rematch between unified super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and British countryman George Groves. A crowd of some 80,000 is expected at Wembley Stadium.

But while Froch and Groves take center stage (in a fight that HBO will televise live in the United States at 4 p.m. ET), there is a highly significant fight on the undercard (no U.S. television) that will have an impact on the winner of the main event.

Super middleweight contender James DeGale, a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, squares off with Brandon Gonzales in a final elimination bout. The winner will become a mandatory challenger for the Froch-Groves II winner.

Certainly if the winner is DeGale, a showdown with either Froch or Groves would be huge in Great Britain.

DeGale's only loss came by majority decision against Groves, his amateur rival, in a British and Commonwealth title bout in 2011. Since then, the 28-year-old DeGale (18-1, 12 KOs), a southpaw, has won eight fights in a row, including winning the European title (which he has vacated) and an 11th-round knockout of Gevorg Khatchikian in his most recent fight March 1.

Even with the winning streak, DeGale said he was growing disillusioned with boxing after being unable to get major fights and having issues with promoter Mick Hennessy, with whom he eventually parted ways.

But DeGale said that after a talk with his mother he has his mojo back as he heads into the eliminator with Gonzales (18-0-1, 10 KOs), 30, of Sacramento, California.

"I'm a whole new person, I'm the real James DeGale now," he said. "I haven't felt like this since the first time I started boxing as a pro. A couple of months back I was in a difficult situation and there was a period where I was thinking, 'I'm going to give up.' I had three months last autumn when I was doing the sums, and talking to my parents about leaving the sport. I really was deeply depressed about it all.

"Boxing has been my life since I was 11 years old and it was all I knew. I have invested in a couple of properties from the money I have earned in boxing as a professional and I wondered if it was time to walk away. I was horrible to be around, always moaning, depressed. Then my mum said to me, 'Stop being stupid, everything's going to work out right,' and I just snapped out of it. Now I'm just a whole new person, loving life and loving boxing."

DeGale believes that the fight with Gonzales is make or break for him.

"If I win this fight I get the winner of Froch and Groves and I'm making it, and if I lose, where do I go? I'm back to rebuilding," DeGale said. "So this is win or bust really. I just have to win this fight, have to. Brandon Gonzales is no joke. He's unbeaten, he has a good trainer in Virgil Hunter and mixes in the gym with Andre Ward and Amir Khan. He's serious and I've taken him that way.

"I've watched a lot of footage of him and I'm feeling good about the fight. I'm injury-free and mentally I am in a good place. I'm happy. They say that a happy fighter is a good fighter, I believe that and I think you will see that."

Groves signs with Sauerland

May, 20, 2014
Barely two weeks before super middleweight contender George Groves of England challenges unified titleholder and countryman Carl Froch in a highly anticipated rematch on May 31 (HBO) at Wembley Stadium in London, he signed with German promoter Sauerland Event on Tuesday.

“I am extremely pleased to have signed with Team Sauerland,” Groves said. “I have boxed on their shows in the past and have known Kalle and Nisse [Sauerland] for years. The shows they put on in Europe are phenomenal. This is definitely a step in the right direction for me as I look to build my name not only across Europe but all around the world. I feel that now I have the right team in place to help me achieve everything I need to in boxing.”

Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) won their initial meeting in November by virtue of an extremely controversial ninth-round stoppage victory, one in which referee Howard John Foster was heavily criticized for a quick stoppage. The rematch has caught fire in England, and a crowd approaching 80,000 is expected.

Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) did not have a promoter, but had been working with Froch promoter Eddie Hearn on a fight-by-fight basis.

“We are proud to have won the race for George’s signature and look forward to guiding one of the most exciting talents on the planet,” Kalle Sauerland said. “We are sure that George will write boxing history and delighted that we will be a part of the journey on a personal and business level."

Fortuna joins busy day on May 31

April, 21, 2014
There will be boxing all over the various HBO networks on a busy May 31.

On the main network, the boxing day begins at 4 p.m. ET with same-day taped coverage of Nonito Donaire's challenge of Simpiwe Vetyeka for his featherweight belt at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Then, at approximately 4:45 p.m. ET, the scene will shift live to Wembley Stadium in London, where an expected crowd of 80,000 will be on hand for the rematch between super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and George Groves.

[+] EnlargeJavier Fortuna
Al Bello/Getty ImagesJavier Fortuna headlines an HBO2 card on May 31 against Juan Antonio Rodriguez on an already loaded day of great fights for the network.
Then there will be more boxing at midnight ET on HBO2 from the New Tropicana Las Vegas, where promoters Sampson Lewkowicz and Lou DiBella are putting on a show that was part of their deal for making the fight between middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto. The card includes a Spanish-language simulcast on HBO Latino, which is where the card was going to air exclusively until the HBO2 English-language telecast was recently added to the mix.

In the main event, speedy southpaw and junior lightweight contender Javier Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic, who was stripped of his interim featherweight belt for missing weight in August, will meet Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

"I am very happy to be on HBO Latino and have a chance to redeem myself on national TV, especially in my second home of Las Vegas, where I will bring pride to my beloved Dominican Republic," Fortuna said.

Rodriguez's last fight was an eight-round decision against Yenifel Vicente and Fortuna said he plans to avenge the loss for his countryman. No chance, said Rodriguez.

"This is the type of opportunity I have been waiting for," Rodriguez said. "People in Mexico know how good I am, but after I beat Javier Fortuna on May 31 on HBO Latino, the entire world will see how good I am."

In the 10-round co-feature, junior featherweight Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) squares off against Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs) in what should be an action fight.

"I couldn't be happier about this opportunity," Puerto Rico's Rosa said. "This is my chance to show that I am not only one of the best fighters in the 122-pound division but also for me to pick up my first [regional] title belt and to make a major jump up the world ratings. I respect Orlandito as a fighter, but this is my time to shine and there is no one who will stand in the way of that."

Del Valle's only loss was by decision to former titleholder Vic Darchinyan in 2012, but it knocked his stock down.

"A while back, it used to be all fun and hype for me, but not anymore," Del Valle said. "May 31 is just another date and another fight for me to prove to the world the type of fighter I am. I am all business now, and come May 31, Rosa is going to find that out very quickly."

In an untelevised middleweight bout, former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora (25-3-2, 8 KOs) will face Samuel Rogers (14-1, 8 KOs).

"Javier Fortuna has been flirting with stardom for a couple of years now, and an impressive showing on May 31 further cements that," DiBella said. "The co-feature is one of the absolute best matchups that you can possibly make at that weight. We are happy to be able to bring boxing back to The New Tropicana Las Vegas."

Joshua to fight at Wembley

April, 7, 2014
The hand injury that England’s Anthony Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, picked up in his first-round knockout of Hector Avila on March 1 will be enough to keep Joshua from his next scheduled fight, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced.

Joshua (5-0, 5 KOs), who turned pro in October, was supposed to fight on April 19 in Manchester, England, on the undercard of junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg’s defense against Nehomar Cermeno.

Although the hand injury will keep him off the card later this month, Hearn said Joshua will return May 31 -- no opponent yet -- at Wembley Stadium in London for a fight on the undercard of the much-anticipated rematch between super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and George Groves. A crowd of some 60,000 is expected at Wembley Stadium.

“Anthony will play a massive part of the huge Wembley show on May 31,” said Hearn, adding that he hopes to announce Joshua’s opponent this week. “We’re looking at stepping him up on the biggest stage British boxing has ever seen. Anthony picked up a hand injury in Glasgow [on March 1] and although it’s healing well, he will be short for April 19 in Manchester. It’s disappointing but I am sure he will be on fire at the national stadium.”

Froch-Groves II to air on HBO

February, 28, 2014
When super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and British countryman George Groves met on Nov. 23, HBO had hoped to televise the fight from Manchester, England.

However, that was the same day that Manny Pacquiao was facing Brandon Rios on HBO PPV in Macau, meaning HBO had to pass on the fight.

[+] EnlargeFroch-Groves
Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesCarl Froch got off the canvas to score a controversial stoppage over George Groves during their first fight last November.
As it turned out, Froch (32-2, 23 KOs), trailing on all three scorecards, got a ninth-round knockout victory against Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) when referee Howard John Foster made one of the most controversial stoppages in recent boxing history in what otherwise was a highly entertaining battle.

Foster's stoppage was so egregious that when Groves protested to the IBF, which sanctioned the bout for one of Froch's titles, the organization ordered an immediate rematch and called Foster's action "inappropriate conduct."

So when the rematch was made for May 31 -- site in the United Kingdom to be determined -- the question was would HBO televise the fight in the U.S. the second time around?

We got the answer on Friday and it was a good one -- yes. HBO said it finalized a deal with promoter Eddie Hearn for the American broadcast rights to the bout and will air the fight live in the afternoon.

"Carl Froch vs. George Groves is an exciting rematch that boxing fans around the globe are going to enjoy," HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said in a statement given to ESPN.com. "We are delighted that HBO is going to be able to televise the fight live in the United States. This shapes up as an important fight in the super middleweight division."

Hearn told ESPN.com he was happy to get the deal done after being unable to do so for the first fight.

"I'm over the moon to agree a deal with HBO to televise this fight," Hearn said. "This fight is one of, if not the biggest fight in British boxing history and it's great news for U.S. fight fans they will get the chance to see it live on HBO. If you need a trailer, then watch the first one."

The fight is Sky Sports pay-per-view event in the U.K.

Carl Froch wins boardroom battle

January, 30, 2014
If super middleweight contender George Groves gets the rematch he so badly wants with titleholder Carl Froch, he isn't going to get the kind of split of the money he had hoped for.

Last week, the IBF ordered a rematch of Froch's highly controversial ninth-round knockout against Groves on Nov. 23.

Although Froch is considering whether to fight his British countryman Groves again or dump one of his two belts and pursue a summer pay-per-view showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the United States (provided Chavez beats Brian Vera in their March 1 rematch), he did get some good news on Thursday in the event he elects to pursue the Groves rematch.

If a deal can't be struck between the camps, the fight will go to a purse bid. Typically, if an IBF mandatory fight involves a reigning titleholder and a challenger who ranks third or lower in the organization's rankings, the split of the winning bid is 85 percent to the titleholder and 15 percent to the challenger. Groves is rated sixth by the organization.

Given the controversial nature of the November fight and the enormous revenue a rematch would surely generate, Groves argued to the IBF that the split should be 75-25 for the rematch. Froch's side argued that the split should remain 85-15.

On Thursday, the IBF announced that its board of directors reviewed the arguments from both sides and voted unanimously to maintain the 85-15 split.

Froch (32-2, 23 KOs), 36, who had been knocked down in the first round, was trailing on all three scorecards when he hurt Groves (19-1, 15 KOs), 25, in the ninth round. But Groves was firing back and hadn't been knocked down when suddenly referee Howard John Foster shockingly stopped the fight, causing an uproar. Even many of Froch's own fans criticized the stoppage, viewed by many as one of the worst in recent years.

How about Groves for Ward?

December, 28, 2013
Rodriguez/WardHarry How/Getty ImagesAndre Ward needs an opponent following his rout of then-unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez in November.
After super middleweight champion Andre Ward returned from a 14-month layoff because of a shoulder injury to rout Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16, the question that came to mind was, whom could Ward face next?

He has already virtually cleaned out the 168-pound division, having won the Super Six World Boxing Classic and banking lopsided wins against Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham, not to mention a nontournament rout of Sakio Bika (who later won the belt that was wrongly stripped from Ward).

After the tournament was over, Ward even crushed light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, who had dropped down in weight to face Ward, stopping him in the 10th round of a one-sided fight.

A week after Ward's clinic against Rodriguez, George Groves challenged titleholder Froch on Nov. 23 in a big all-British showdown. Groves mostly took Froch to school, knocking him down in the first round, and was clearly winning the fight. But in the ninth round, Froch got Groves into some trouble and referee Howard John Foster suddenly jumped in to stop the fight in one of the worst stoppages in recent memory. Now Froch is telling anyone who will listen that he won't give Groves the rematch he deserves.

After seeing how Groves dominated Froch, awful stoppage notwithstanding, I thought: Wouldn't it be interesting if Ward gave Groves a shot?

After all, Ward (27-0, 14 KOs) beat Froch easily (and with one hand), and even though Froch has talked about his desire for a rematch with Ward, there is really no reason for it. That said, there is a very good reason for Froch-Groves II. But if Froch wants to run away from a rematch with Groves (19-1, 15 KOs), so be it. Ward would be justified in giving a shot to Groves, who looked good enough against Froch to deserve a shot against the real 168-pound champion anyway.

Maybe there will be a Ward-Groves fight, especially after Ward took to Twitter on Thursday to mention the possibility.

"UK fans still not happy with Carl 'The Cobra' Froch huh?? That's why I respect UK fans, they ride for the home team, but tell the truth," Ward wrote. "Thing is, if he is going to live up to his tough guy image, he has to rematch Groves or try to avenge his loss to me. He's got two options.

"His fans won't except anything else," Ward continued. "What do you think UK?

"I would consider fighting George Groves next. He showed a lot his last fight. He's a good fighter & deserves a shot."

Considering the facts that Ward has said he isn't prepared to move up to light heavyweight yet, he has beaten the other top fighters at super middleweight -- except for titlist Robert Stieglitz (who is slated for a rubber match with Abraham anyway) -- and the most intriguing middleweight opponent, Gennady Golovkin, is already scheduled for a February fight, I think Ward-Groves makes all the sense in the world.

Ward could face an interesting opponent and stick it to Froch at the same time.

Whether Ward will return to the ring in a timely fashion is another story now that he is suing promoter Dan Goossen to get out of their contract. The litigation could stall Ward's career again, something he should be wary of after two extended breaks for injury since beating Froch in December 2011. This is the second time this year that Ward has tried to break the contract, having previously lost in arbitration with the California State Athletic Commission, which upheld Goossen's agreement.

Joshua off Froch-Groves card

November, 19, 2013
Heavyweight Anthony Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist from England, was due to fight on Saturday’s Carl Froch-George Groves undercard in Manchester, but promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport announced Tuesday that Joshua is off the show because of a biceps strain.

The 24-year-old Joshua (3-0, 3 KOs) has been busy, turning pro on Oct. 5, having his second pro fight on Oct. 26 and his third on Nov. 14, and winning each fight by knockout inside of two rounds. If Joshua’s strain is OK, he is due back for his next fight on Dec. 14 in London.

Interim middleweight titleholder Martin Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs), recently added to the show when a title defense in Australia against Garth Wood fell through, now has an opponent -– Ukraine’s Sergey Khomitsky (28-9-2, 11 KOs) -- for the 10-round non-title bout.

Quigg-Frampton fight in 2014?

October, 14, 2013
With Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton being two of the best 122-pound talents in boxing, a showdown between them is one of the fights many in the United Kingdom are really looking forward to someday.

That day could be getting closer, although each man has business to attend to first.

Quigg (26-0-2, 19 KOs), 25, of England, was recently elevated from an interim titleholder to a full titleholder, and then retained the belt via majority draw against Yoandris Salinas on Oct. 5. Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport has announced that Quigg’s second defense, against an opponent to be determined, will take place Nov. 23 in Manchester, England, on the Carl Froch-George Groves undercard.

“I was a bit gutted not to get the 'W' against Salinas, as I felt that I deserved it. It was a tough fight, but one that I felt that I came on very strong in at the end,” Quigg said. “That fight is in the past now, though, and I’m ready to defend my belt and do so in style. It’s going to be a massive occasion with Carl and George’s fight set to be one of the biggest in Britain for a long time, so I’m thrilled to be involved.”

Frampton (16-0, 11 KOs), 26, of Northern Ireland, defends his European title in his hometown of Belfast against France’s Jeremy Parodi (35-1-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday. This fight is also a world title elimination match, although not for the belt that Quigg holds.

However, Frampton's manager, Hall of Fame former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, said he has received an offer from Hearn for Frampton to face Quigg in March.

McGuigan said that is a fight Frampton wants. However, he also said any discussion of the fight will only take place after Frampton’s fight with Parodi. So it is possible that if Frampton beats Parodi and Quigg beats whomever he faces next month, they could square off in early 2014.

Hopefully, it will happen.

Groves flips trainers at 11th hour

September, 24, 2013
[+] EnlargeGeorge Groves
Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesGeorge Groves is changing cornermen two months before what he calls "the biggest fight of my life."

In a surprise move, super middleweight contender George Groves has split from longtime trainer Adam Booth and replaced him with Paddy Fitzpatrick just weeks before Groves is to challenge titleholder Carl Froch in an all-British showdown.

The 25-year-old Groves (19-0, 15 KOs) is scheduled to challenge Froch (31-2, 22 KOs), 36, on Nov. 23 at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England.

It's highly unusual for a fighter to change trainers so close to such a significant fight, Groves' first shot at a world title. But for reasons that weren't disclosed, Groves made the move -- even though Booth, still under contract, remains his manager.

"I am extremely happy to name Paddy Fitzpatrick as my new trainer going into what is the biggest fight of my life," Groves said in a statement on Monday. "Paddy and I have worked closely together in the past and already have a very good relationship, one built over many years. Not only has he worked my corner for important fights, we have also spent a lot of time together when abroad on training camps, where Paddy has overseen a number of significant sessions.

"Although this is a fresh change for me, I'm working with someone I know and respect, and someone who knows my game inside out. We both know how the other works, so it won't take long to hit the ground running."

Fitzpatrick used to serve as one of Booth's assistants, so he is familiar with Groves.

"His experience and knowledge of the game is world-class and he is, without doubt, the perfect trainer to help me prepare for my next fight," Groves said. "He has a great energy, both in the gym and on fight night, and I feel totally comfortable in his presence. I'm looking forward to working with Paddy on a full-time basis and I'm excited to start adding many more tools to my arsenal. By the time Nov. 23 arrives, I'll be better than ever. And more than capable of dethroning Carl Froch."

Fitzpatrick has previously worked with fighters such as Virgil Hill, Michael Grant, Justin Juuko and female stars Lucia Rijker and Laila Ali.

Froch-Groves sells out in 11 minutes

September, 17, 2013
Carl FrochAlex Livesey/Getty ImagesCarl Froch will defend his super middleweight title against George Groves in November.

For all those who continue to push the ignorant and lazy “boxing is dead” narrative, how does this fit with your tall tale?

Tickets for Carl Froch’s super middleweight title defense against British countryman George Groves went on sale on Tuesday and all 18,000 sold out in 11 minutes, according to Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn.

Tuesday was the same day that Froch (31-2, 22 KOs) and Groves (19-0, 15 KOs) met face-to-face for the kickoff news conference to promote the Nov. 23 showdown at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.

“Every time I hear that tickets have sold so fast I have to pinch myself,” said Froch, whose May 25 rematch with Mikkel Kessler at London’s O2 Arena was also a sellout. “To fill an arena that's not in my hometown, but still in a fantastic fighting city like Manchester, it's humbling and I'm really looking forward to coming here and being part of this massive occasion.

“I've had some big international nights in my career against top-class opposition, but a British fight always gets the blood flowing as the rivalry is more intense. You all know what I'm about and what I'm capable of. You've seen it time and time again against elite-level opposition. I always turn up fully prepared and ready for battle for whoever is in the opposite corner, the fans are in for a real treat and they can look forward to a really exciting night.”

This will be, by far, the biggest stage Groves has ever been on.

“I'm thrilled to be part of this massive night,” he said. “It's a true honor to fight for a world title and to take on a well-established world champion like Carl Froch. I'm not surprised that the fight has sold this fast as British boxing is on a high and this is one of the biggest fights we're going to see in the next few years.

“It's 100 percent my time and I cannot wait to get in there and prove to everyone that this is a fight that I am more than ready for and I cannot wait to be world champion.”

Also on Tuesday, Hearn announced that lightweight Anthony Crolla had signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport and will appear on the Froch-Groves undercard.

Crolla (26-4-1, 9 KOs), who is from Manchester, is coming off the best win of his career, a decision against former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees on June 29.