In one of the most highly anticipated bouts in British boxing for some time, George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr waged battle at the Manchester Arena tonight to decide the first finalist in the world boxing super series super middleweight division. The WBA super world and IBO world title belts were also on the line.
With an electric atmosphere inside the Arena, the fighters made their entrances to the ring and stood for the national anthem, this was a defining fight in both fighters careers, a win would cement either at the top of the super middleweight division and in pole position to go on and win the world boxing super series and Ali trophy.
It was a tentative opening round with both fighters reluctant to really let their hands go and attempting to establish their jabs, but it was Groves who looked the slightly sharper, In the second round it was Groves who took the fight to Eubank Jr landing hooks and counters and appearing to hurt Eubank Jr on numerous occasions.
In the third Groves started brightly but Eubank Jr managed to turn the tide landing some flush shots which appeared to have Groves hurt and unraveled momentarily, In the fourth Groves regained control boxing well off the backfoot, although Eubank Jr finished the round strongly in the last 30 seconds. the fifth round was close with both fighters having some success.
In the sixth Eubank Jr was on the front foot trying to muscle Groves onto the ropes for the majority of the round, but with limited success, at this stage Groves looked like the man who was landing more effective punches.
In the seventh Eubank Jr was appearing to become desperate as he swung wildly on occasions trying to catch Groves to turn the tide, at this point it was clear, Groves was winning this fight clearly and Eubank Jr needed something to change things.
Towards the end of the eighth round, the fight caught fire with both fighters exchanging tremendous punches, both stood firm, however, it was another Groves round on my card. In the ninth some fiery exchanges occurred as Eubank Jr began to take risks and let his hands go, it looked like Groves may have to see out a late rally from Eubank Jr in the championship rounds.
In the tenth round, Eubank Jr started the round well landing a huge shot but failed to follow up letting Groves off the hook, from there on it was Groves who took control of the round as Eubank Jr began to look desperate and lost.
In the 11th round Eubank Jr put everything on the line, this was a man who knew he was behind, but Groves weathered everything and came back with some huge counters of his own, one thing was for sure there was nothing wrong with Eubank Jr’s chin or heart. In an incredible last round, both fighters left everything in the ring as they went toe to toe for the majority of the round in some tremendous exchanges.
The bell sounded for the end of the 12th and final round, surely only absurd scorecards would rob Groves of an exceptional clear victory and a passage through to the final of the world boxing super series.
The scorecards were in with all three judges scoring it in favour of George Groves.117-112, 116-112, 115-113 he was through to the final and retained his WBA title whilst also picking up the IBO belt in the process.
He will now face either Callum Smith or Juergen Braehmer who contest the other semi-final next weekend in Nuremberg, Germany.