‘George was an angry ginger-haired kid’ – Eubank Jr. told to forget topping Groves in sparring

Matthew Bozeat 13/02/2018

Chris Eubank Jr. has been told to FORGET what happened when he sparred George Groves.

Eubank challenges Groves in front of a sold-out Manchester Arena on Saturday night and ITV are hoping for around one million pay-per-view buys for the super-middleweight showdown.

There’s history between the fighters which makes this a more intriguing contest.

The Eubank’s claimed a moral victory after they sparred ahead of Groves’ fight with James DeGale back in 2011.

Former heavyweight Neil Perkins was there and he says Eubank is making “a big mistake” if he’s taking confidence from his spars with Groves.

Perkins, who took Black Country southpaw Ryan Aston to spar Groves, said: “The plan was for George to box on the back foot and make De Gale fall short and nobody thought he could do it.

“George was an angry, ginger-haired kid who just wanted to come forward and it was so frustrating for him to have to box on the back foot.

“But that’s what he had to and that’s why every time Groves sparred Eubank and Aston, they were always on the front foot, they always got the better of it.

“The same happened when I sparred David Haye. I had him on the back foot, but that was to get him ready for what he was going to do against (Nikolay) Valuev.

“I wasn’t bashing up David Haye, he was using me as a training tool and that’s what Groves did with Eubank.

“If Eubank is taking confidence from that spar, he is making a big mistake.”

Perkins is tipping Groves to win – and revealed that he once avoided sparring him.

“I was down there sparring Haye and George was a novice amateur who was bashing up heavyweights!” remembers Perkins, who fought in ‘Prizefighter’ in his five-fight pro career and now runs a successful gym in Birmingham.

“I told my coach: ‘Get my gloves off quick as I can!’

“Adam (Booth) asked me to spar Groves next and said: ‘Sorry, I can’t. I’ve taken my gloves off.’ I didn’t fancy getting bashed up by a novice super-middleweight!”