7 minutes to flow: Groves vs Eubank jr presser
Despite the fact their February fight is already sold out, George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr still exchanged pointed barbs at yesterday's press conference to launch their WBSS showdown. Paul Zanon was there for Boxing Monthly...
Seven minutes. That’s how long it took to sell out the tickets for the fight between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. Not even the length of three rounds of pugilistic combat. On a similar note, both fighters are adamant that their opponent won't hear the final bell come 17 February at the Manchester Arena.
On a cold wintery afternoon, a healthy crop of Britain’s top journalists filled out a decent sized room at the luxurious Savoy Hotel, Central London yesterday for the first press conference to promote a fight that is already sold out.
As we waited in anticipation for the fighters to arrive, their respective world championship belts were brought up to the press table, to remind us that the winner will be one step closer to the unification dream.
After a (standard) 20-minute delay to the proposed 2pm start, both fighters took to their seats, flanked by their trainers, Shane McGuigan and Ronnie Davies, with Eubank Sr as the non-silent, silent bystander.
A heavyweight in promoting circles, Kalle Sauerland took to the microphone to make a bold opening statement. “This is a fight that surpasses the boundaries of a mega fight.” Sauerland claimed, referring to it as “a storyline written by the [World Boxing Super Series] tournament.”
Groves was the first of the two fighters to take to the microphone. Reflecting on the challenge which lies ahead for both men, Hammersmith’s WBA super middleweight champion said, “I hope the fight justifies the attention," adding: “I’m looking forward to a big fight, but it’s a fight I’m going to win.”
The deep rooted self-confidence in Groves, evolves from a belief that Eubank Jr will need to make major changes to win. Based on his previous performances, 'Saint George believes Eubank "will fall short on a lot of categories”.
Not one to hang around with a counter argument, Eubank Jr soon weighed in with his own dialogue. “I rise to the occasion. The bigger the fight, the better I perform," he said. "He [groves] needs to think about himself, not me.”
Eubank Jr then added, speaking directly to his rival: “George – you will not see the 12th round...this is my time. I’m a different fighter to two years ago. He’s still at the same level. I know what he’s capable of [a reference to sparring sessions the duo hada few years back].”
A calm Groves didn’t hang around with his response to the Brighton man.
“He doesn’t have the pedigree,” he scoffed, a comment which propelled Eubank Sr to jump up and defend the honour of the Eubank name. Refusing to be cowed, Groves continued. “You can be as fit as you want, but on the night I’m unbeatable.”
Groves then told Eubank Jr, to the amusement of the crowd, “You’re Insta-famous!”, referring to his reputation for posting video clips on social media of him unleashing lighting fast combinations on punchbags.
“I’ve got experience to rival any big [super middleweight] fighter out there," Groves added. "He won’t last 12 rounds. We’ve both stamped our flag with our statements.”
Groves went on to claim that Eubank Jr was a stepping stone fight ahead of the WBSS final, a claim Jr was quick to rebuff: “I’m not a stepping stone, I’m a mountain which you are not going to climb.”
Sounds like fighting talk to me.
I think it’s safe to say that this fight is one of the most highly anticipated domestic contests of 2018.
It has a throwback air to it, which lends itself to a bygone era warmly welcomed back into the present.
Who will win? That’s a very close call.
However, with their respective styles and power, irrespective of the result, sparks are sure to fly on 17 February 2018 in Manchester.