GEORGE GROVES announced his retirement on Monday after a 10-year professional career in which he became the super middleweight champion of the world.
The decision to hang up his gloves came four months after the Hammersmith-born fighter suffered a literally gut-wrenching seventh-round knockout to Callum Smith, who took his WBA crown thanks to a fierce body blow.
Groves (28-4) was involved in some of the most memorable British clashes of the modern era in his two fights against Carl Froch, the second taking place at Wembley in front of 80,000 fans.
Despite losing both world title encounters – the first particularly controversially – Groves eventually got his crowning moment in May 2017 when he defeated Fedor Chudinov to attain the WBA strap.
The 30-year-old retained his belt twice, his last defence against Chris Eubank Jr in February 2018.
It shows your true character – a man who can lose and come back stronger
Chris Eubank Jr
Groves outpointed his countryman to earn a unanimous decision, and Eubank Jr opened up about that loss to Express Sport.
The Brightonian did not have a trainer ahead of the bout, and admitted to us: “I’m sure that that was a disadvantage in the fight.
“Along with the preparation. Not having sparring, not really having any guidance, just doing what I’ve done my entire career, which is kind of my own thing.
“I’d been relying on myself and it has worked, I had some great fights, some great performances, but once you get to a certain level, I believe you need all the help you can get, you need all hands-on deck and we have that now.”
Like Groves, Eubank has been forced to bounce back from career-denting losses and explained the mindset needed to keep your head up after defeats, which Groves displayed with great poise throughout his career.
“That’s part and parcel of being a fighter, being a champion: picking yourself back up and coming back from defeat which is what all the great champions have done over the years,” Eubank Jr said.
“And it shows your true character – a man who can lose and come back stronger. That’s the true mark of a champion. You live and you learn.”
Eubank Jr faces Olympic gold medallist and longtime adversary James DeGale on February 23 at the O2 Arena in his second fight since losing to Groves, and compared the pedigree of both men.