George Groves masterminded another remarkable performance at Sunderland’s Seaburn Centre on 16th October, stopping the Lithuanian Tadas Jonkus in the 4th round of their scheduled 6 round fight - something that had never happened to Jonkus.
On a bill that also included Sunderland’s Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries, and former amateur rival Travis Dickinson, Groves had been keen to impress, and impress he did, showing the movement, patience and power that has characterised his professional career to date. Let’s not forget that George is still only in his first year as a pro, having made his debut in November last year. That means his next bout on the undercard of David Haye’s Sky Box Office clash with Nikolay Valuev on November 7th will make it seven fights in the first year, and with the last five fights all ending in stoppage wins, this is just the tip of the iceberg on a career that is destined for greatness.
This was Groves’s first fight under new promoter Frank Maloney and correspondingly his first fight on Sky Sports, which was, considering the number of fighters on the Sunderland bill, testament to his performances to date. Having fought just 12 days previously Groves started with poise, taking a good look at Jonkus early on, letting go without too much intent. As ever, the 21 year-old made good use of feints and his left jab to back up his opponent. Jonkus covered up well on the ropes but Groves landed hard to the body and it always looked a matter of time before the Lithuanian gave way.
As it was, a series of sickening blows to the body saw a compassionate stoppage from the referee with just over a minute of the 4th round remaining. It was a classy performance from Groves who showed a maturity and assurance in his approach to break down a durable opponent. Speaking on Sky after the fight, Groves said, “The guy’s never been stopped, so there’s a reason for that. I’m happy I got the stoppage tonight. You can’t just bombard these guys because they just tuck up well and they come back with a solid shot and if they catch you it’s goodnight nurse.”
“It’s all about feinting and trying to break the guy down and breaking his spirit more than anything, and you know, it worked tonight, I got the stoppage in the 4th round.”
“There’s no such thing as a complete fighter you know, we’ve been looking at legendary fighters and you still find faults, but the next thing for me is always going to be defense.”
On a night in which fellow new pro Tony Jeffries stuttered to a disappointing points win in front of his home fans, and Travis Dickinson beat a massively over-matched debutant, Groves can be more than satisfied with a slick and confident performance that will no doubt have continued to convince fight fans he is a bona fide Super Middleweight star on his stratospheric rise to super stardom.
Ratings - World: 3/1,279
Ratings - British: 2/52
Residence: London, UK
Won: 25 (KO18)
Rounds Boxed: 176