Groves seeks solid return over Di Luisa, Kovalev faces Pascal
Lee Gormley | January 28, 2016
George Groves v Andrea Di Luisa
- Super-middleweight fight
- Saturday, January 30th
- Scheduled for: 21:00 GMT
- Copper Box Arena, London
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Groves returns to ring against Di Luisa
George Groves returns to the ring this weekend embarking on a hopeful path towards his fourth super-middleweight world title shot, as the Londoner first prepares to collide with Italian Andrea Di Luisa at the Copper Box Arena.
On his home patch of London, ‘Saint’ Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) will look to make a strong statement in his first bout since losing a third world title fight at the hands of Badou Jack last September, when he suffered a split decision defeat on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s farewell meeting with Andre Berto.
The 27-year-old has undertaken the guidance of new esteemed trainer Shane McGuigan, who also coaches IBF super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton and David Haye, and is 11/2 with Coral to earn a points decision victory over Di Luisa (18-3, 14 KOs) on Saturday night.
McGuigan boosts Groves’ prospects
Having been downed in the first round on the way to losing against Jack, as well as twice enduring defeat to Carl Froch in 2014, Groves has since parted ways with Paddy Fitzpatrick in favour of McGuigan, a switch he believes will boost his world title prospects.
“A few things weren’t quite right in Las Vegas, so I decided to part company with Paddy and now I am with Shane,” stated Groves, who is 14/1 to taste a fourth career setback to Di Luisa.
“We’re on the same wavelength and I feel that with him I am producing great work in the gym, and now I am just looking forward to getting out there and showing the improvements and getting back to winning ways.
“I was talking to my promoter, Nisse Sauerland, en route to meeting Shane about my style of fighting and what went wrong in the last fight, how I could have improved. Before I could say those things, Shane said them to us, so I had the inkling straight away that we’re on the same page.”
Groves gets Golovkin backing
The Hammersmith-born fighter’s defeat to Jack was his third in five bouts and third from as many world title contests, casting doubts over his top level chances, but he has still gained the backing of undefeated middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
“I think [he can still win a world title], right now it’s not a bad position for him, the [open] super-middleweight division, because he had a very close fight with Badou Jack, who’s the WBC champion. It was a very close fight, maybe one or two points,” stated ‘GGG’, who previously sparred Groves in the build-up to the latter’s Christopher Rebrasse bout in 2014.
“I think power [is his weakness], just the power. He’s a good boxer: he needs more power, so that when he punches [a fight is] finished.”
Groves enters the famous Copper Box Arena this weekend knowing he needs a strong showing in order to climb the super-middleweight ladder once again (odds-on 1/10 for KO), with a potential fourth world title attempt his returning goal.
Sergey Kovalev v Jean Pascal
- WBA (Super), IBF and WBO light-heavyweight title fight
- Sunday, January 31st
- Scheduled for: 01:00 GMT
- Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
- Live on Box Nation
Kovalev and Pascal meet for heated rematch
Sergey Kovalev will once again collide with Jean Pascal in Montreal this weekend for the pair’s awaited rematch, with the Russian’s WBA (Super), IBF and WBO light-heavyweight titles on the line at the Bell Centre.
After a heated build-up which saw a flurry of verbal exchanges during final press conference duties, undefeated Russian Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) will look to overcome Haitian-Canadian Pascal (30-3-1, 17 KOs) for a second time since last March.
As the 32-year-old defending champion looks to continue climbing the pound-for-pound ladder and dominate the light-heavyweight division, he will next need to dispatch his long-standing rival along the way and is 4/1 to stop Pascal in rounds 1-3.
‘Krusher’ wants to end Pascal’s career
Pascal was halted in the eighth round of the duo’s initial bout last year, but was one of only three fighters, after Darnell Boone and the legendary Bernard Hopkins, to take the towering Russian that far in his career.
Although, ‘Krusher’ made short work of Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds in September and, after a bitter war of words between himself and his 33-year-old foe, he is looking to put an end to the feud for good in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“I don’t care what he’s saying because he’s a trash talker. If you listen to every trash talker, you’re mind will be like trash. He’ll pay for this January 30 in the ring,” declared Kovalev.
“I would like to end his career. He’s already crazy. That was a low blow. As a fighter, he’s good. As a person, he’s no good. He asked for this from the last press conference.”
Kovalev is 2/1 to end Pascal’s night between rounds 4-6, while the challenger is 10/1 to upset the odds and claim the light-heavyweight titles, but he faces a tough task in this anticipated rematch.
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