Groves sees no Barr to success

PUBLISHED: 17:14 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky. GEORGE Groves insists there is no danger of ring rust when he fights for the first time in six months on Sunday at York Hall.

GEORGE Groves insists there is no danger of ring rust when he fights for the first time in six months on Sunday at York Hall.

The Hammersmith super-middle-weight, who faces Matthew Barr at the top of the Hayemaker 10 show, has not been in action since he knocked out Sandor Polgar in April.

But the 21-year-old says he is in good shape after his sparring sessions with the likes of Domenico Spada, who unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC middleweight title in July.

"Either I didn't do well enough for Spada or if I hadn't gone so hard on him he'd have won the title!" said Groves.

"I'd like to think it was the second of those. But I've put some good work in over the summer and not fighting was more of a disappointment than a setback - you're always going to have time off in the summer anyway.

"You never hear anyone talk about ring rust before a fight - they only bring it up afterwards if things haven't gone well.

"I know what I've got to do and there's no point rushing anything against a seasoned southpaw like Matthew Barr. I'll make sure I'm switched on, ready to rock and there won't be any ring rust."

Groves has won all four of his bouts since turning professional last year, but is likely to face his hardest test to date in Sunday's eight-round clash with the experienced Barr.

The 32-year-old southpaw has 14 wins and four losses on his record, but spent three and a half years out of the ring before returning with a four-round points success against Nick Okoth in June.

"I wanted to box in London, to give everyone a chance to see me, and I asked for a recognised British fighter, which is what they've delivered," said Groves.

"I think Barr is a perfect opponent for me, he's a seasoned southpaw and he's going to pose new challenges. He doesn't live too far from me and, although we've never met, he's boxed people I know and vice-versa.

"Micky Delaney, who trained me as an amateur, remembers Barr from those days. He's highly ranked, around the same as me, and it's going to be an interesting fight.

"It's not going to be daunting for me headlining the bill - I'm coming back to a venue I know, so I'll live off the atmosphere and the buzz and put in a performance."

Provided Groves comes through unscathed, his next outing will be on a very different stage - the undercard of stablemate David Haye's WBA heavyweight title challenge against Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg on November 7.

"I've been training with David and it'd be great to be on the same bill as him, like a dream come true," added Groves.

"I'm proud to be associated with this team and it doesn't get much better than boxing on the undercard of a world heavyweight title fight."

n Doors open at 2.45pm for Sunday's Hayemaker 10 show, which also includes welterweight Robert Lloyd Taylor, and boxing gets under way at 3pm. Call 07939 387 980 for ticket information.

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