Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

It seems Chris Eubank Jr read all the big fight previews and agreed, to such an extent he decided there was no point entering the ring with a game plan.

That may be a little harsh, he did have Plan A, which was to swing aimlessly for a winning knockout punch. It’s one thing to realise your opponent has better boxing craft, quite another to decide this means you should abandon anything resembling boxing tactics.

Fair enough, Eubank Jr was unlikely to ever be ahead on points by occupying the centre of the ring and outworking Groves with intelligent jabs and counterpunches. But he could have taken rounds by successfully hustling The Saint. Getting on the inside and landing telling punches – against a proven world class boxer – requires careful plotting.

Rushing your man is a quick way to hand over the fight. George Groves did show signs of openness but that’s to be expected with the amount of wild punches being thrown. By the sixth round any doubts in his mind vanished. He knew the points were racking up in his favour. Keeping him at arm’s length seemed easy, avoiding when up close never looked too much of an effort.

Eubank Jr did sustain a cut above his right eye, which bled profusely, but it wasn’t a telling factor in this fight. The major difference was experience and brains over the arrogance of youth. Chris Eubank Snr was an original, an eccentric one-off who could box. His son comes across as a deluded braggart.

Tonight, George Groves made Chris Eubank Jr look like an amateur. An amateur with a poor amateur background.

It’s the start of a new chapter for Groves. A chance for a fresh start, and if the shoulder injury he sustained in the final round isn’t serious, he’ll go on to win the World Boxing Super Series. While this is going on, Eubank Jr should watch this fight on repeat every day and take notes on how to box.

If you want to reach the top level you need to learn how to use brains before dropping the bombs.

There’s no better example in the world of a man who knows this than George Groves.

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Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

The bookies have installed Chris Eubank Jr as favourite in the semi-final of their World Boxing Super Series clash, proving hype catches the attention of casual fans. The Eubanks have made two careers out of furore. Eubank Senior was no doubt one of the best during a competitive generation. A true boxer who ran out of answers when faced with hardman Steve Collins.

The three losses that closed out his career were the exclamation point highlighting his long decline. They shouldn’t overshadow his boxing prowess. His personal, and carefully crafted, style outside the ring was a distraction that often counted against him, especially as historians focus on the performer.

So it’s with some irony that his son enters his biggest bout to date and isn’t seen as the natural boxer out of the two competitors. His best chance is to make Groves deviate from the plan to box. As we saw against Billy Joe Saunders, Eubank Jr can be put in his shell when the other guy remains disciplined.

Those bookies odds have been shaped by the Eubank Jr gimmick convincing people he’s better than the man holding two belts, as much as Groves’ historical bouts, namely the Carl Froch fights, have swayed opinion.

Cliché alert: some boxers are never the same after a big defeat. Until Groves wins the next big one, there will be a question mark over him. Has the Froch experience scarred him forever? The Eubank Jr fight is the next big one. A win here deletes the years of carrying around inner turmoil.

History doesn’t tell the story of how he out-boxed Froch for two fights, or how the Nottingham fighter needed to pull out the best punch of his career to stop him. It just says he lost. Twice.

To drive home that fact, Carl Froch works tirelessly at working a reminder into every appearance he makes on Sky Sports. If you didn’t know already, Carl Froch once filled Wembley and beat George Groves.

The time to kill the bogeyman has arrived.

He’s endured the painful memory of what happens when he allows adrenaline to dictate his approach. If he remains mindful of his goal – and how to achieve – Chris Eubank Jr will be in for a long night of boxing. One where he becomes a frustrated and beaten opponent.

The fight could come alive in the second half when Eubank Jr realises the points are against him and he needs to do something to remove the judges from the equation. At that point, all eyes will be looking for the knockout win.

The wise man would still fancy Groves. If he can endure the onslaught, he can also deliver more telling power punches to a chin that has never been tested.

Groves famously once said: “Everything for a reason.” All those setbacks have been for tonight, the reason: to take back the respect he should never have lost, to make this his time. In doing so, he will expose the Eubank brand for what it really is.

Klitschko and Joshua: Legacy and Legitimacy

Klitschko and Joshua: Legacy and Legitimacy

The King is dead; long live the King.

Saturday night, Wembley saw a record attendance for a boxing match and a bout that will become the thing of legend. It was more than a passing of the torch: it was a fight for the ages. A reminder why the heavyweight division is the pinnacle of the sport, and a moment in time where long burning questions were finally answered.

Previous perfunctory performances, like the Haye fight, had done little to endear Wladimir to fair-weather boxing fans. They want excitement and edge of the seat action. He played his part in providing this against AJ.

It’s a shame Haye couldn’t bring this side of Klitschko to life. Imagine a world where a slicker, more focused Wladimir stomped on the heavyweight division instead of politely keeping it at arm’s length with a jab.

This writer has always been a fan of boxers that box smart instead of taking risks for the sake of show. Mayweather is a genius that bores the untrained eye. Wladimir to many, was dull and a fallacy.

Of course, these claims are untrue. He was a master technician that painfully learnt his weaknesses in his early fights and adapted style accordingly. Paradoxically, it was his years of methodical experience that went against him on Saturday.

After he put Joshua down, the younger man looked spent. He was there for the taking. Even as AJ launched the final, deadly attack, it was from rocky ground.

But Klitschko was too use to seeing fights out, meticulously choosing punches at the optimum time. Had he ignored this well-tread instinct, the British Gold Medallist would have been surrendering to his Ukrainian counterpart.

Instead it was down to the man without any experience at world level to change the course of the fight: The course of heavyweight history.

Both men left everything in the ring. In defeat, Wladimir Klitschko is humanised. The mechanical, robotic sounding, professor of the punch became a dynamic warrior, ready to go out on his shield with his sword still swinging.

AJ will continue to improve, this was invaluable experience. It means should Klitschko face him again, he’ll have to raise his game even further. At forty-one, that may be too much of an ask. But at least we now know there was something left in the tank. More than a little, as it happens.

Anthony Joshua took a large step to fulfilling the prophecy that he can become one of the all-time greats, should he maximise his potential. The chinks in his armour – ones that had been hinted at – were fully exposed. But he stood tall and kept his relentless hunter mode active.

It may have been Joshua’s first proper fight at world level but he proved he belonged there. For all the hype surrounding him, real calibre shone through when it mattered most. He may still be “vulnerable” in the way Klitschko said, and demonstrated, but the balance of talent versus deficiencies sways in his favour.

Joshua getting better with time must strike fear into every future opponent. The best heavyweight boxer of the last decade, in the finest shape of his life, couldn’t halt his ascension. The legitimacy of Anthony Joshua can no longer be questioned.

Neither can the legacy that Wladimir Klitschko leaves behind. Often overlooked because of the entertainment factor, people miss the point: he made boxers look ordinary and always got the job done.

The Fury defeat can now be placed into context. There was a question as to why Klitschko tried to add extra padding to the canvas. It was a move that a man recovering from injury would take. He didn’t look 100% that night but took the fight anyway.

This isn’t to diminish the Fury achievement, he went with a game plan and executed it perfectly. It was the thing needed to light the fire in Wlad’s belly.

Once burning again, we saw a glimpse of the great man that’s always been there.

His boxing record already ensures Wladimir Klitschko is a Hall of Fame addition. The character and professionalism he’s displayed in every situation signifies what being a champion is all about.

He hands over his crown to Joshua in a fitting coronation. The British boxer has displayed he also has a positive demeanour. In the coming years, it will be tested as fighters try to drag him to the dark side of the sport.

In those moments, he’d be well advised to take a pause and wonder what Wladimir would do.