“Saint” George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs) successfully defended his WBC silver super middleweight title against Denis “Momma’s Boy” Douglin (17-4, 10 KOs) on Saturday, beating the American challenger via seventh-round knockout in Liverpool, England.
Douglin gave the heavily favoured Groves a surprising challenge in the opening rounds before slowing down significantly, and the defending champion finally looked like himself in the seventh, dropping Douglin with a combination of right hooks before ending the fight with the left.
Groves was expected to look sharp from the opening bell but came out a little sluggish in the first, as both he and Douglin combined for a slower start to the fight than the previous bouts on the undercard.
ByTheMin Boxing also noticed:
The American was fighting at a heavier weight than at any stage of his career, and the difference in size was very visible. Douglin refused to let it dictate the fight, however, surprising the Liverpool crowd by going toe-to-toe with the defending champion.
Groves took too many chances and kept getting caught with hooks to the body, although he countered with an excellent combination that looked like it won him the second.
Momma’s Boy showed no signs of slowing down in the third, twice stunning Groves with clean, sharp combinations high. The Times‘ Tony Barrett was surprised:
As shared by Sky Sports, he also opened up a cut on the bridge of Groves’ nose:
A big shot at the end of the third looked like it almost dropped the champion, but it also seemed to wake him up, as he came out with far more intensity in the fourth. Suddenly, Groves was moving around the ring and the big right hand was landing significant shots.
Douglin had looked fresh and mobile in the first three rounds but two hard punches rattled the American, who couldn’t find any answers in the fourth.
ByTheMin Boxing approved of the new tactics:
Douglin bounced back in the fifth, however, as the cut on Groves’ nose started to look bad. Another flurry of punches likely won the underdog the round, but he was also visibly gasping for breath on his way back to the corner.
He started slowing down in the seventh, and Groves’ experience showed, as the defending champion slowly started to pull away. Ring TV’s Douglass Fischer knew Douglin couldn’t let up:
A strong combination with the right hand finally wobbled Douglin, who went down with a minute left in the round. He barely beat the count before staggering to his feet, and Groves charged forward again, locking him into the corner with a big left hook.
The referee had seen enough, stopping the fight before the 26-year-old could do any more damage.
Groves may have gotten the stoppage win, but fans and pundits were anything but convinced. Fischer even believes he hurt his stock on Saturday:
The defending champion struggled for much of the fight, displaying poor accuracy in his punches and not displaying any movement in the ring. While Douglin proved he can put together a solid performance at the middleweight level, Groves gave the American far too many chances to take the fight to him.
With James DeGale impressing greatly against Marco Antonio Periban on Saturday, it seems almost a foregone conclusion who would win a single eliminator for the right to fight Carl Froch, via Laceup Boxing:
A battle between Groves and DeGale seems almost inevitable at this point, but judging by both fighters’ recent performances, the latter would have to be the strong favourite to avenge his 2011 loss.