Groves v Eubank Jr. date and venue announced; DeGale still the prize

By J.B. Smithers

Such is the nature of the sport of boxing these days that one has to remember to write George Groves’ name first in any discussion or announcement regarding his World Boxing Super Series Semi-Final clash with Chris Eubank Jr. The tournament has been a huge success in terms of the entertainment provided and threatens to restructure much of what we understand the accepted hierarchy of boxing, it’s matchmaking and promotion, to be too.

The momentum behind Eubank Jr., despite a curiously innocuous period prior to his last two fights, one the quarter-final with Yildirim, is growing. Growing to the point, his name frequently appears to the fore, to the left to use boxing parlance, of releases and public rumination about the bout with Groves, who is, for the casuals who have forgotten, the WBA Super-Middleweight champion. This seemingly trivial faux pas speaks loudly about the potential for Chris Eubank Jr. to transcend, standing on the shoulders of his father and the great names he tangled with, to reach a much loftier and lucrative plateau than the one Groves could reach.

In and of itself, when one considers the enormity of Groves’ rematch with Carl Froch, to believe that is even possible is remarkable. Continue reading “Groves v Eubank Jr. date and venue announced; DeGale still the prize”

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That was the boxing weekend that was (15th Oct. 2017)

Increasingly, I’m losing my nerve when I watch boxing. Maybe it’s fatherhood, maybe its the persuasive refrain of those linking concussion to mental health issues in later life, maybe its just a phase. The weekend was punctuated and illuminated by knockouts and in some instances preceded by a number of blows beyond those usually required to invite a referee to intervene.

Aside from my own, hopefully temporary, philosophical dilemma, several fighters leapt forward in their careers and entertained fans via the short route on cards from The Flash Grand Ballrooms of Manilla to the Hotel Metropole in Mbuji-Mayi. The latter is in Ghana for those of you, like me, not worldly travelled. Continue reading “That was the boxing weekend that was (15th Oct. 2017)”

Groves stops Cox in 4 to set up Eubank Jnr. contest

Photo credit: Tom Jenkins

Thousands of words have been written about George Groves this past decade, I’ve written a few along the way, and I suspect none of them have ever succeeded in defining the enigmatic Super-Middleweight. Whilst writers and fans wrestle to place him in the convenience of a fixed position in our catalogue of stereotypes, the current WBA Super Super-Middleweight champion stays occupied and continues to overcome adversity and collect scalps in entertaining bouts.

In defeating Jamie Cox by fourth round knockout tonight, the 29-year-old Londoner confirmed the much assumed and much anticipated World Series Boxing semi-final against Chris Eubank Junior and delighted a good crowd at the Wembley Arena in the process. Continue reading “Groves stops Cox in 4 to set up Eubank Jnr. contest”

Fighters, like all of our heroes, are just people

In the relative tranquility of midweek, a peace I enforce rather than receive from boxing by default, when the memory of the preceding weekend is flushed of emotion and the fights ahead do not yet submerge them into shadow, I often grow reflective and thoughtful. Boxing’s busyness is welcome, as I’ve written before many of us remember the wilderness years of leisure centres and the WBF, but as with all things in society these days, there is barely time to pause for breath. Continue reading “Fighters, like all of our heroes, are just people”

That was the boxing weekend that was (08th Oct. 2017)

Photo credit: Phil Peterson

As I’ve written recently, these are heady times in British Boxing. The breadth and depth of exposure fighters and events are being afforded is unprecedented. This weekend, a host of shows were available to viewers across various channels and platforms and it was hard to know where to bring your shekels and attention to rest. Within the quietness of Sunday I like to reflect on the high points from the weekend; this one came packed with super-sized lightweights, knees to the nether regions and the arrival of a new fighter to my roundtable of favourites. Continue reading “That was the boxing weekend that was (08th Oct. 2017)”

Eubank annihilates Yildirim. A special fighter arrives

Photo credit: Corey Pellatt

I know, I know. Adni Yildirim is not Carl Froch or James Toney but he was the fighter the rest of the World Boxing Super Series field would only whisper about. Yildirim was tipped, perhaps merely for psychological purposes, by Callum Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher, among others, as the fighter most likely to emerge from side of the draw containing Eubank Jnr., Yildirim and Groves.

Tonight, Eubank Jnr. completely destroyed him in a performance of precision, confidence and power which marks him out as a fighter of very special qualities. For this observer he crossed a rubicon from irritating caricature of his father, who illuminated his own era of course, to an unmissable commodity in his own right.  Continue reading “Eubank annihilates Yildirim. A special fighter arrives”

Boxing: Cleverly pulls out but still hopeful of landing Hopkins – really?

Despite the lack of substance Robin Krasniqi had on his resume, it is regrettable that the custodian of the WBO‘s Light-heavyweight belt, Nathan Cleverly was unable to defend it against him. For all the clamour for more progressive matchmaking for the young Welshman I’m equally eager to see busy fighters. Too many modern day boxers reach title level, whether domestic or international, and adopt the status of a religious deity. Permitting themselves just one or two public appearances a year.  While fight-figures always maintain fighters are made in gyms, I’m an advocate of the alternate view that fighters develop through competition and activity. One destination you wouldn’t expect this lost fight to lead to however is, Bernard ruddy Hopkins. Continue reading “Boxing: Cleverly pulls out but still hopeful of landing Hopkins – really?”

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