George Groves ready to shine

  • Last Updated: December 14 2012, 15:43 GMT

George Groves hopes to sound a warning to the super-middleweight division by becoming only the second fighter to stop Glencoffe Johnson at London's ExCel Arena on Saturday night.

George Groves: Looking to make a statement

Groves headlines the bill after Ricky Burns' WBO world lightweight title defence against Jose Ocampo was abandoned for contractual reasons.

It will be the unbeaten 24-year-old's 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.

Johnson is a 43-year-old veteran of 70 fights and while he has lost 17 times, he only failed to last the distance against Bernard Hopkins in 1997, providing Groves with a target for the fourth defence of his Commonwealth belt.

"I'm ranked highly with all the four major sanctioning bodies so now I've arrived in world class I want to build on those rankings," he said.

"I want to keep my options open with all the organisations so that if any door opens, against any of the champions, I can jump straight in. We're already knocking loudly.

"Clearly Glencoffe knows how to survive, even if he doesn't come to survive.

"Stopping him would make a huge statement. I do expect to stop him but don't expect him to just fall over."

Groves has victories over James DeGale and Paul Smith on his 15-fight record, but Johnson is indifferent in his assessment of his opponent.

"From what I've seen I'm not impressed as such, but I respect George as an unbeaten prospect with a lot of potential," the Jamaican said.

"The way I look at it, the fight isn't about George Groves. Right now, I feel good about what I can still do. If I fight smart I'm the better fighter. It'll be up to the judges to do their jobs correctly."

Billy Joe Saunders defends his Commonwealth middleweight title and fights for the vacant British belt when he meets former unlicensed boxer Nick Blackwell.

The 23-year-old 2008 Olympian turned professional at the same time as DeGale and Frankie Gavin, but is viewed by many as the most promising of the trio.

"I didn't really get pro boxing at first. I thought that as long as stayed hydrated and ate fresh food, I'd be okay. But now I really live the life, take all the right vitamins and supplements," he said.

"I've not really shown what I'm about in the ring but people at our gym have seen a big improvement.

"Hopefully Blackwell will hang around long enough for me to really show my classy boxing."


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