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King George on the march again

PUBLISHED: 14:22 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 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 DEFENDING champion George Groves took his first step towards a second ABA middleweight title with victory in the North West London division at Brent Town Hall. The Dale Youth Club boxer overcame a spirited challenge from John Ryder of Angel B

By Ben Kosky

DEFENDING champion George Groves took his first step towards a second ABA middleweight title with victory in the North West London division at Brent Town Hall.

The Dale Youth Club boxer overcame a spirited challenge from John Ryder of Angel BC to win on points and secure his place in the London finals a week on Saturday.

Groves was favoured by the draw, gaining a bye to the final while Ryder had to beat another Dale Youth Club challenger, Louis Reid, to reach that stage.

But the England international from Hammersmith was on top throughout the contest, making better use of the jab and rocking the gritty Ryder with a combination in the second round.

Ryder did catch his opponent in the third, but Groves - cheered on by a sizeable crowd - reasserted his superiority with a flurry of shots and saw out the final round to take the verdict.

"I felt it all came together and if it had been computer scoring, he'd have been my ideal opponent," Groves told the Times.

"Me and my trainer Mick [Delaney] had a game plan, we watched him box earlier and noticed his left hand was quite low. I got a good variety of shots going.

"I could sense the expectation in the warm-up - I'm the man to beat and I didn't want to let anyone down. Now we've got some time to repair, do our homework and get on with trying to win another ABA title."

Groves, 20, will be joined in the London finals by two Dale Youth Club team-mates - heavyweight David Reid, a former ABA semi-finalist, and cruiserweight John McDermott.

Reid was always on top during his bout with Finchley's M Onda and sent his opponent crashing to the canvas in the second round, but McDermott gained a walkover after his opponent withdrew.

Welterweight Daz Sidiqzai also had to pull out for personal reasons, while Louis Reid showed plenty of energy without landing sufficient punches in his middleweight contest with Ryder.

Dale Youth light welterweight Tommy Tear fought well to see off Mark McKray of Haringey Police, giving him a count in the third round after a spell in which he had been tucked up on the ropes.

Tear took on another Haringey boxer, Ryan Taylor, in the semi-final, and briefly had his opponent in trouble in the third round, but the speed of Taylor's punching swung the judges' decision in his favour.

Winners from the London finals, which are being held at York Hall, will progress to the national ABA championships in Sheffield, with the finals back at Bethnal Green on May 16.

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