Fan favourite George Groves has recalled a particularly dark period in his career in which he felt he could trust nobody.
In what was one of the fiercest rivalries in British boxing, Groves faced Carl Froch for the IBF and WBA super-middleweight belts. The fight – which would be followed by a rematch – was stopped in the 9th round by referee Howard Foster.
Groves had dropped his opponent in the first round, but a flurry of unanswered punches from the champion later on in the fight caused Foster to take step in and award him the victory.
Speaking with James English on the Anything Goes podcast, Groves detailed the low point, covering a side of boxing that fans often forget is going on behind the scenes.
“I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. I’m at war with Adam Booth, trying to see out a management contract that we’re disputing. I feel like I’ve been robbed and f**ked over by Eddie Hearn the promoter. I’m questioning his morals. What has he done? How has he had this involvement?
Why has Howard Foster stopped this fight at this point? Has he believed the hype that I’ll start fast but fade late, and Froch is a championship fighter and he’ll get rid of me? Was there any malice or corruption involved or is it just what it is?
I’ve got no manager now, no promoter. Sky TV are behind me for their viewing but they’re not necessarily going to help me for my career, because if I don’t harness the public hype around me right now I’ll soon just get forgotten about – which happens time and time again to fighters.
So, I need to capitalise on this. Capitalise on the public outcry, really, for what felt like justice at the time. And because of that it didn’t really feel like a loss.”
At the time of the stoppage, Groves was ahead on all three of the judges’ scorecards. His outrage was immediate, and he demanded the rematch post-fight. Froch honoured that a year later, producing knockout of the year in front of 80,000 people at Wembley.
Whilst it was heartbreak for ‘Saint George’ once more, he did go onto win the WBA Super-Middleweight World title three years later, and hung up the gloves on a thrilling career in 2018.