George Groves believes a change in trainer to Shane McGuigan can be the missing piece in his World title jigsaw as he returns to action against Andrea di Luisa on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, live on Sky Sports.
Groves was edged out by Badou Jack in Las Vegas in September in their WBC Super-Middleweight clash, climbing off the canvas in the opening round to push the Swedish-American the distance. One judge gave the decision to Groves, but Jack held onto the title he took from Anthony Dirrell in April thanks to the other two cards.
That was Groves’ third World title fight after his unforgettable battles with Carl Froch MBE in Manchester and London, and the Londoner had Paddy Fitzpatrick in his corner for them all. Following the loss in Las Vegas, Groves has turned to McGuigan to guide his latest charge to a World title, and Groves says life with the trainer of Carl Frampton and old Adam Booth gym-mate David Haye has started well.
“A few things weren’t quite right in Las Vegas so I decided to part company with Paddy and now I am with Shane,” said Groves. “We’d been working together for a few weeks behind closed doors before we made the announcement before Christmas and we clicked and gelled straight away. We’re on the same wavelength and I feel that with him I am producing great work in the gym, and now I am just looking forward to getting out there and showing the improvements and getting back to winning ways.
“I was talking to my promoter Nisse Sauerland en route to meeting Shane about my style of fighting and what went wrong in the last fight, how I could have improved. Before I could say those things, Shane said them to us, so I had the inkling straight away that we’re on the same page.
“I’m back punching hard which I am enjoying, although my knuckles aren’t. Everything else feels great though. He’s got a cracking stable of fighters with Carl Frampton in the gym preparing for his fight in Manchester with Scott Quigg in February. Barry McGuigan is in the gym all the time passing on his first-hand experience from his own involvement in massive World title fights, but Shane has his own presence and authority that I enjoy. He’s very knowledgeable for someone that’s my age, but he is also learning every day and I am enjoying every moment with him.”
Groves clash with Di Luisa is part of a huge night of action in east London as John Wayne Hibbert defends his Commonwealth and WBC International Super Lightweight titles against Tommy Martin.
John Ryder faces the ‘Brit Basher’ Sergey Khomitsky for the vacant WBA International Middleweight title and Martin J. Ward defends his WBC International Super-Featherweight strap against Italian Mario Pisanti.
Former football star Leon McKenzie continues his charge towards titles in the ring in a final eliminator for the English Super-Middleweight title against Kelvin Young and Brentwood’s Kris Agyei-Dua defends his Southern Area Super-Welterweight title against Chadwell Heath’s Ben Hall.
There’s a host of young talents on the bill with Watford Featherweight Reece Bellotti tasting eight-round action for the first time in the paid ranks, action for Brixton’s Lightweight banger Ohara Davies, Bermondsey Welterweight Ted Cheeseman, Crystal Palace Super-Middleweight Craig Richards, West Ham Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid, Wimbledon Welterweight Louis Adolphe and Rainham Light Heavyweight Charlie Duffield.
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