George Groves has his eyes set on conquering the super-middleweight division – and he starts on Saturday with the first defence of his world title.
The 12-stone Hammersmith-born fighter puts his WBA belt on the line against fellow Brit Jamie Cox in the quarter finals of the World Boxing Super Series at Wembley Arena, a venue that has become like a second home for The Saint.
Groves is the number one seed in the competition as he looks to cement his place in the history books.
“I cannot contemplate losing to Cox at this stage of my career,” the 29-year-old prizefighter said. “The road back is a painful one and I have walked that road already. I have finally got my hands on a world title and I am not going to give it up easily. This is my chance to leave my mark on the division.”
His opponent Cox comes into the contest with an unbeaten record in 24 fights. He was also a former teammate to Groves during their amateur days in the England squad.
“He is out to take my belt and knock me out of the tournament,” Groves added. “I am not going to let that happen. I am improving in every camp with my coach Shane McGuigan and I feel I can progress to the final. This is the first of three potential super domestic world title fights and I am not looking to take any prisoners.”
If Groves overcomes Cox, it will set up an all British dust-up with Chris Eubank Jr who progressed to the semi-finals after an explosive third-round knockout of Avni Yildrim in Stuttgart last weekend.
There is more local talent on the undercard as two budding fighters from Hammersmith hope to emulate our local world champion and continue the growing list of local champions that also includes IBF world titleholder James DeGale.
Dan-Dan Keenan gave up his promising football career to lace up the gloves and it seems to have been the right choice as he has racked up six wins in the paid ranks.
The 20-year-old played for the likes of QPR, West Ham and Watford at junior level until his father convinced him to switch to boxing. The super-welterweight has trained with Groves and aims to make it win number seven at the weekend.
Meanwhile, fellow stablemate Dean Richardson is also on a winning streak after four victories in the welterweight division.
Richardson, 22, trains under Barry O’Connell, a former Royal Marine physical training instructor, at the State of Mind fitness gym in Galena Road, Hammersmith, alongside Keenan.
This will be Richardson’s last fight of the year as the six-foot contender aims to fight for the Southern Area title in 2018.
Local boxing gyms
If you’re interested in trying your hand at boxing, here are a few local options:
Hammersmith Boxing Academy at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College in Gliddon Road run boxing sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm to 8.30pm and Saturdays at 11am to 1pm.
Hurlingham Boxing Club in Peterborough Road have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 8pm.
State of the Mind Fitness in Galena Road has a host of boxing classes.
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