Groves would welcome a rematch with DeGale


SHEFFIELD — George Groves would welcome a rematch and world title unification fight with James DeGale following Saturday’s sixth round win over Fedor Chudinov.

After capturing his first world title with a vicious and sustained attack, WBA super-middleweight champion Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) is looking forward to some “interesting” match-ups against the likes of fellow Britons DeGale and Callum Smith.

DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) is the IBF world title-holder and the division’s No. 1 but is expected to be out of action until the end of the year due to shoulder surgery.

Smith (22-0, 17 KOs), the unbeaten Liverpool contender, challenges Anthony Dirrell for the WBC belt in California on September 9 after Badou Jack vacated the belt following his draw with DeGale in January.

A clash with DeGale, who Groves beat by majority decision in 2011, would be the biggest fight in the UK outside of the heavyweight division since a match-up between welterweights Kell Brook and Amir Khan is becoming increasingly unlikely.

“I would like that [a fight against DeGale],” said Groves at a press conference.

“We will have to wait and see. Everyone would like to see it again. I don’t know what his situation with the IBF is. It’s a great fight though. It’s a fight I’ve always enjoyed, the build-up and beating him.

“There are going to be a lot of opportunities for me now. I’m not in a massive rush. There are some interesting things going on behind the scenes and big fights against some British guys.”

Groves’ victory over Russian Chudinov in front of a crowd of 27,000 at Bramall Lane ends a long and difficult journey for the Londoner.

The 29-year-old was stopped in world title fights against fellow Briton Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014, with the latter being a humiliating knockout in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley.

Then came the agony of a split points decision defeat to Badou Jack for the WBC belt in September 2015.

In his last fight in November, Groves’ opponent Eduard Gutknecht afterwards collapsed into a coma and need emergency brain surgery. Gutknecht still cannot talk or walk and Groves admits he has been deeply affected by his previous opponent’s condition. Groves paid tribute to Gutknecht in the moments after winning his world title and says he will feel better now he has relieved himself of the burden of being challenger.

“I’ve put the demons to bed,” Groves said.

“For so long I was walking around not knowing what was happening and why I wasn’t world champion. I can be so much better now.

“The weight has certainly been lifted. That thing that was there is no longer there. I’ve learned from my lessons. It will make me a better fighter. It’s there for me now, I can be in some big fights and fun fights.”

But Groves was given a hard time by Chudinov (14-2, 10 KOs) early on. The Russian, in his first fight in 15 months, made a fast start and appeared to be winning the fight due to his volume of punches and accuracy.

However, Groves began finding the target from the fourth round and in the sixth hurt Chudinov with a swift combination.

Former WBA champion Chudinov went into his shell and Groves unleashed an unrelenting barrage of blows on his static and unresponsive opponent, prompting the stoppage.

“As always, I made it hard work for myself,” said Groves.

“I caught him in the first round and I thought I hurt him but at the same time it took me a while to get a foothold in the fight. He was catching me with some good shots. His shot placement was very good.

“When I hurt him in the sixth round, I thought I would just keep landing until the ref said no more, and that’s what happened.”


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