The Pugilist

Seven truths from Froch v Groves II

The Pugilist

Here are seven truths from one of the biggest nights in British boxing history, with Carl Froch beating George Groves by KO in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium.

1. Anthony Joshua needs some kind of test soon

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83 seconds. That’s how long it took the London 2012 gold medallist to despatch of his latest hapless opponent, Matt Legg. In six fights, Joshua has not seen the third round. And while the slow and steady approach to bringing up a new prospect in the professional ranks, this is starting to feel all-slow with zero steady rise in his carefully-selected opposition’s toughness or ability. Eddie Hearn won’t risk his big man for at least another year, but let’s at least have someone who can give Joshua some decent exercise and land a punch or two of his own in Liverpool come July.

2. Jamie McDonnell deserves more coverage

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Last year, Eurosport boxing contributor Chas Early accurately heralded Doncaster’s McDonnell as ‘the world champion Britain didn’t know it had’. While he was stripped of that first reign somewhat harshly, he now has an alphabet belt around his waist once more after expertly controlling Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat for the majority of 10 energetic rounds before finishing the Thai off with a cracking left. Those who did know who McDonnell was before largely felt a lack of finishing ability prevented him from gaining the recognition that former champions such as Nathan Cleverly and Ricky Burns got while holding a belt. Now, the sky is the limit after a big win on a huge stage which proved those doubters wrong.

3. Kevin Mitchell still flatters to deceive

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Four years ago, Kevin Mitchell was the star of the show as boxing hit a football venue for a big stadium supershow. Ultimately, his world title challenge of Michael Katsidis ended in abrupt and painful defeat in front of his friends and family at his beloved West Ham’s Upton Park. His efforts to rebuild arrived at Wembley on Saturday – but they were exposed as meek even before he walked to the ring as the Londoner was found to have bulked up above his Friday weigh-in beyond the acceptable limit. After then being outboxed for the majority of his victory over Ghislain Maduma on the night before springing to life to knock down the knackered Canadian twice in the 11th for the TKO, it’s hard to envision him doing any better in a potential third world title crack after the losses to Katsidis and Ricky Burns – assuming his farcical weight blip is overlooked by the powers that be.

4. James DeGale has finally made a great career decision

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For three years after his narrow defeat to George Groves in a big grudge match at London’s O2 Arena, James DeGale floundered under both Frank Warren and Mick Hennessy. His career decisions – in an effort to find a promoter who would treat him as a star attraction – were not becoming of his undoubtable talent. Finally, after joining the swelling ranks at Matchroom, ‘Chunky’ has a platform on which he can sink or swim. He undoubtedly has a very high opinion of himself and that won’t sit well with everyone, but at least now he will be able to prove decisively whether or not he belongs where he says he does.

5. Eddie Hearn is miles ahead of his rival promoters

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The sheer volume of interest and anticipation for Froch-Groves II – not to mention the records broken and the magnitude of the venue – proves Matchroom is on another level to the likes of Warren and Hennessy these days. However, the reason for this chasm in success was evident during the Wembley card. While far too many British boxing cards in recent times finish after midnight – some as late as 2am – Froch-Groves II was well-timed with the fans’ logistical situations in mind, and contained fights with a strong chance of finishing within the distance. As it turns out, every major undercard bout did just that. A one-fight card to most it may have been, but the national stadium blockbuster was an all-around hit.

6. George Groves has gained in defeat

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There can be no excuses from Groves after his second defeat to Froch – and, in a nice touch, there were none. Groves was a prospect before fighting ‘The Cobra’ twice and is now one of Britain’s biggest names. He was one half of a record Wembley fight and, as long as his future under Sauerland Promotions is handled well, he will one day be a world champion himself.

7. Froch v DeGale couldn’t come at a better time

Despite DeGale’s impressive showing in chief support, it’s still a little difficult to believe he’s now #1 contender to Froch after a long time in purgatory. However, with domestic boxing enjoying rude health thanks to the Froch-Groves rivalry and Eddie Hearn’s meticulous British takeover, there’s a wave to be ridden here and though it won’t match Wembley, Froch v DeGale will enjoy momentum and mainstream interest off the back of the wars with Groves each man was involved in.

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