Time to eat humble pie, in my pre fight article I predicted Eubank would win by unanimous decision while in fact it was Groves who won by unanimous decision. I almost exactly predicted how the fight would pan out only I got the names of the boxers the wrong way round. I thought Groves would be one dimensional and Eubank being the creative one, whereas the complete opposite was true. Groves seriously impressed me rising to a level I didn’t believe he had, I now see him as a worthy world champion. Groves dictated the pace of the whole fight, from start to finish, under the instruction of his trainer Shane McGuigan, who could be seen signalling to slow down.
The first two rounds seen Groves dictate with his left jab forcing Eubank to make wild lunges which miss the target completely. Groves looked very sharp and focused for this fight; he attacked and retreated at pace avoiding a blow for blow contest with Eubank. With each lunge missing Eubank grew more and more frustrated. The only real talking point came when Eubank appeared to touch the canvas with his glove but replays show the ref was right to allow the fight to carry on. Groves easily won the first two rounds.
It wasn’t until round three when Eubank finally had some success when Groves swung but missed allowing Eubank to land a big body shot followed by a solid head shot that sends Groves onto the ropes. It was in this moment that ‘The Saint’ turned into Floyd Mayweather Jr, for no matter how hard Eubank tried he could not land a punch on Groves. Groves had Eubank swinging like a mad man, with his body set up to dodge then swivel before grabbing hold of Eubank forcing the ref to split them.
During the third round Groves is given a bit more room to express himself and in doing so he shows all the common traits of an Adam Booth fighter, even though they parted ways some years back Adam has left his imprint on Groves and it shows, with Groves using a technique employed by both Belfast world champion Ryan Burnett and Josh Kelly, where they would throw out a dummy right hand before planting their left foot and leaning their head to left dummying a left jab, trying to force the opponent into a trap that would leave them exposed to the counter attack, although Eubank has not fallen for it so far. Eubanks right eye is cut from a clash of heads.
Round four and five follow a similar pattern where Groves fights on the back foot forcing Eubank to Lunge which send Groves retreating to the ropes where Eubank misses badly. Round Six is a follows the same pattern except Groves pushes Eubank out of the ropes, maybe as pay back for all the mind games Eubank was playing, but Groves defiantly gets into Eubanks head as Eubank loses his cool and actually lands a punch as the ref is trying to split them up. Groves throughout the fight lands body jabs with Eubank left hitting nothing but air. Groves was defiantly the faster and lighter on his feet, with Eubank a bit heavy on his feet and maybe came in heavier than groves on purpose and by using the extra weight he was set up to try and lean on Groves to tire him out and slow him down. It didn’t appear to be working though. Eubank did deserve marks for being aggressive, but the rounds went to Groves for his superior shot accuracy.
Rounds seven and eight are typical of the fight with Groves in with a lightening quick body jab and out again before Eubank can react, who pushes groves onto the ropes where he does Mayweather proud with his defensive display. On one occasion Groves stops Eubank mid lunge with a quick counter attack. Rounds nine and ten see Eubank upping his work rate having slightly more success but his shots are lacking the power from his previous rounds. Eubanks eye was cut pretty badly which must have been affecting his vision. Round eleven seen Eubanks movement slow to a crawl where Groves could see every attack coming which allowed him to land a quick three jab combo to Eubanks face. Round Twelve was a no punch contest, Groves hurt his hand in the previous round and was unable to throw many punches, which left him dodging and evading for most of the round. But Eubank was unable capitalise and land anything.
The end of the fight sees Eubank held aloft celebrating in anticipation of his victory, with Groves’s smiles going largely under the radar, only for the Judges’ score cards to send Eubank back to earth with a thump, 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113, I had the fight 117-112 in Groves favour. Rightly so Groves takes the win, retaining his belt and deservedly moving into the final. I first thought Groves was mad for joining this tournament but looking at that fight I believe he has every chance of winning it. I was maybe too hard on him and didn’t really rate him coming into this fight, but my attitude towards him as completely changed and I recognise him as a true worthy world champion.