Groves secures Johnson victory
George Groves retained his Commonwealth super-middleweight title after negotiating the toughest test of his professional career against Jamaican veteran Glen Johnson at London's ExCel.
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Groves registered a wide points victory against the former IBF world light-heavyweight champion, taking a 120-107 120-107 119-109 decision on the scorecards.
The 24-year-old failed in his target of becoming only the second man to stop Johnson in a 70 fight-career that included wins over Roy Jones, Antonio Tarver and Montell Griffin, but was rarely troubled.
It was only his second outing of a year interrupted by back and nose injuries and the significant cut sustained during his six-round stoppage of Francisco Sierra in July and his defence was far from watertight.
But he succeeded in defeating Johnson more comprehensively than British rival Carl Froch, who secured only a majority decision in June last year.
An accurate straight right midway through the first round saw Groves pounce on the 43-year-old, who was forced to cover up to weather the assault.
Groves, seeking his 16th victory, was at his best fighting from range and was caught twice in the second as he closed Johnson down, staggering slightly on both occasions.
By the fourth the Londoner was in full control, picking off his opponent at will, but in the fifth he was trading once again and while he landed freely he was also caught himself.
Only the bell saved Johnson at the edge of the sixth as Groves teed off on the Jamaican, who was dazed as he returned to his corner.
More punishment followed in the seventh as Johnson spent a full minute on the ropes without returning fire, but he was also finding Groves with growing ease.
Groves continued to take too many shots but outworked an opponent who was 19 years his senior for the remainder of the rounds.
Johnson was down at the end of the 12th, although it was as much down to a slip as the body shot by Groves.