Badou Jack “The Ripper” (20-1-1, 12 KOs) successfully defended his WBC Super Middleweight World title with a hard-fought, crowd-pleasing 12-round majority decision over mandatory challenger “Saint” George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs). Jack, who dropped Groves late in the first round, triumphed by the scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 113-114. The hard-luck Groves, who abruptly fled the ring in disbelief after the announcement, fell to 0-3 in world title fights. Jack was impressive in what may have been his toughest fight to date.
“Groves has a lot of heart,’’ said Jack, who was making the initial defense of the WBC belt he took from Anthony Dirrell in April. “Body work is becoming my signature. I wasn’t effective enough because I couldn’t knock him out. I felt like after the first round I could but I just couldn’t. I didn’t go to the body enough.
“I haven’t thought about my next fight yet, but there’s a lot of big fights for me. I heard Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. wants to fight me. I want to enjoy this win but I will fight anyone.”
The victory was Jack’s fourth in a row since suffering the lone loss of his career on a shocking first-round knockout loss to Derek Edwards in February 2014.
Groves, whose only other losses were in back-to-back fights against then-world champion Carl Froch, didn’t dispute the knockdown but had a problem with the decision.
“I thought I won the fight decisively,’’ he said. “I thought I controlled the fight with my jab and that I was in control throughout, though, it appeared closer to the judges.
“It was a legit knockdown in the first round. He landed the right hand over the top, but I have good fitness and I thought I got back in control of that round. But all credit to him though scoring the knockdown in the first round.
“Congrats to Badou. I hope he has a successful reign as champion. I’d love to fight him again and hopefully I will do better next time. I am going to take some time to work out what’s next. Losing a world title fight is the worst feeling in the world.”