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King George is after a new crown

PUBLISHED: 13:09 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010

NORTH WEST LONDON ABA SENIOR BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008
PHOTO'S BY GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
DATE: 27/03/2008.
TEL: 07831-396-923.

JOHN REID OF ANGEL BOXING CLUB (BLUE) V GEORGE GROVES OF DALE YOUTH CLUB (RED).

NORTH WEST LONDON ABA SENIOR BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008 PHOTO'S BY GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS DATE: 27/03/2008. TEL: 07831-396-923. JOHN REID OF ANGEL BOXING CLUB (BLUE) V GEORGE GROVES OF DALE YOUTH CLUB (RED).

GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS

By Ben Kosky GEORGE Groves has yet to throw a punch in professional boxing – but his trainer has tipped him for top billing by the end of next year. The double ABA middleweight champion from Hammersmith makes his pro debut this Saturday on the undercard o

By Ben Kosky

GEORGE Groves has yet to throw a punch in professional boxing - but his trainer has tipped him for top billing by the end of next year.

The double ABA middleweight champion from Hammersmith makes his pro debut this Saturday on the undercard of David Haye's heavyweight clash with Monte Barrett at the O2 Arena.

Groves signed for Hayemaker Promotions after winning the second of his amateur titles in May and has since been working under the tutelage of ex-Southern light-middleweight title holder Gary Logan.

"I'd go so far as to say George is the best amateur to turn pro since Amir Khan or David Haye," Logan told the Times.

"We're going to bring him along gradually, but I'd like to think that in a year to 18 months he'll be topping the bill with six to eight-rounders.

"George is eating right, he's started living like an athlete and he's in good shape. He's been exceptional in training, picking up a lot of things and I'm really enjoying working with him.

"George is a great puncher and hits really hard, but he's well aware of what he can't do so well and he told me that's why he came to me as a defensive coach.

"Considering his immense experience as an amateur, he's very willing to take things on board. He's a very fit man with natural conditioning - I keep pushing him and think he's going to snap, but he never does!"

Groves, 20, has spent the last fortnight at a training camp in Cyprus with Haye and his trainer, Adam Booth, and will fight a Lithuanian opponent this weekend.

He represented England several times during his amateur career at Dale Youth Club and succeeded team-mate James DeGale as ABA champion after a controversial victory over the future Olympic gold medallist.

But DeGale, two years his senior, was the man chosen to fly the GB flag in Beijing during the summer - and that convinced Groves to forsake the Olympic dream in favour of a pro career.

But Logan, who fought for the British title three times during his own 15-year career, predicts that the pair, along with Ireland's Darren Sutherland - who was beaten by DeGale in the Olympic semi-final - could dominate the middleweight division.

"I hope somewhere down the line the two of them and Sutherland can meet as pros," added Logan. "I think it'd be like the era of [Nigel] Benn, [Chris] Eubank and [Michael] Watson, when the middleweight and super-middleweight divisions were so exciting.

"George is nearly at super-middleweight limit now and we think that's the weight he's going to fight at, but we'll see what he's happy with and go from there.


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