George Groves has accused Chris Eubank Jr of letting his ego get in the way of his career, saying his next opponent is “a performer first, fighter second”.
The British rivals will meet in the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series, which pits six super-middleweight title holders and contenders against each other in a knockout format.
Groves, 29, set up his clash with Eubank Jr by stopping Jamie Cox in four pulsating rounds at the SSE Wembley Arena, and immediately went on the offensive.
“Eubank to his credit is a performer first, fighter second. He is always aware of how he’s being perceived. He was desperate to fight me because he knows fighting me makes it a big fight. He craves fame, I’m here to fight.”
Eubank Jr beat Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in three rounds in Stuttgart earlier this month to reach the final four.
Londoner Groves ended Cox’s 24-fight unbeaten record and took his own tally to 27 victories – with 20 coming by knockout – and three losses.
Cox, 31, began well, tagging Groves with multiple jabs to the body. Groves fired back with body shots of his own and eventually connected with good straights to the head. Both fighters started unleashing power shots towards the end of the opening round.
The Swindon boxer continued to target Groves’ body with jabs, pressuring him into the ropes where the pair traded blows in a fierce exchange.
‘The Saint’ clipped Cox with accurate punches towards the end, but the challenger had made his intentions clear.
The same blueprint was used in the third. Cox started with the body jabs and Groves countered with a strong uppercut and a brief brawl ensued after. Cox showed a little frustration in the third after a few slips but the bout stayed even as both fighters landed shots.
Cox kept his pressure up in the fourth but then out of nowhere Groves landed a perfectly-placed right hook to the body. The challenger went down and did not get up.
Cox was a man of very few words in the post-fight press conference.
“It was a great fight. It’s great to be part of this World Boxing Super Series. George Groves is great world champion, and I relish the opportunities forthcoming.”
As for future plans, Cox didn’t have much to say.
“A couple weeks of a break, then I’m back in the gym. I’m going to sit down and speak with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and go from there.”
Groves, the former British, European and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion, gave credit to his quarter-final opponent and said he had been ready for Cox’s early onslaught.
“We expected him to be aggressive and fast early on. We planned for that, so we weren’t surprised. Logically, it would have made sense that Jamie would try to force the pace early.
“But I’m a strong guy, I’m a clever fighter as well. I knew it was only a matter of time because I was able to land good shots.”
Groves now switches his focus to Eubank Jr, and their eagerly-anticipated bout is set to happen in January or February, according to promoter Kalle Sauerland.
The winner will then fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series in May.
In the other semi-final, Britain’s Callum Smith will face either Germany’s Juergen Braehmer or American Rob Brant, who fight in Germany October 27.
Photos by Patrik Kuitunen