George Groves (22-3, 17 KOs) got his career back on the tracks tonight in beating little known Italian Andrea Di Luisa (18-4, 14 KOs) by a 5th round knockout in the main event at the Copper Box Arena in London, England. Groves, 27, gave Di Luisa a bloody nose in the process of knocking him down three times in the fight.
The bout was stopped in the 5th after Di Luisa’s corner tossed in the towel after Groves had knocked Di Luisa down twice in the round. Di Luisa didn’t look hurt at any time. he just kept taking knees over and over again. Di Luisa also attempted to take a knee in the 4th round. He didn’t go all the way down, but his right glove touched the canvas and referee Ian John-Lewis counted it as a knockdown.
Groves landed some nice jabs and right hands in the fight. There was nothing wrong with his punching power, as it was all there for him tonight. Di Luisa fought timidly and rarely attacked Groves in any real way. Di Luisa mostly threw wild left hooks that missed by a mile, and he did a lot holding.
Groves fought cautiously in the first three rounds, but once he realized that Di Luisa was no threat to him, he started unloading on him with power shots starting in the 4th.
It’s hard to really learn anything from this fight in terms of whether Groves is back or not. It was such a poor opponent that it was impossible to know if Groves has improved since his 12 round decision loss to WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack from his previous fight last September. I didn’t see anything in Groves’ game that would tell me that his new trainer Shane McGuigan has improved his game.
Groves looked like the same fighter that Badou Jack beat and the same fighter that Carl Froch knocked out twice. I would venture to say that the Groves that lost to Froch was a better fighter than the one that fought tonight. Groves looked younger when he fought Froch, and he was a lot more aggressive. The Groves that won tonight was timid much of the time, and missing with a lot of his shots.
Groves is ranked #3 by the World Boxing Council at super middleweight, and he’s in a good position if he wants to get another world title fight against Badou Jack for his WBC title. Groves should probably working on improving with his new trainer McGuigan because he looked like the same fighter that had been trained by Paddy Fitzpatrick.
In other action on the card, middleweight John Ryder (22-2, 12 KOs) defeated Sergey Khomitsky (30-13-3, 13 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight that was a lot closer than the wide scores two of the judges scored it. Ryder won by the scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113. You can either call the fight a draw or give Ryder a close win. It wasn’t as wide as the scores from two of the judges.
Commonwealth and WBC International Super Lightweight champ John Wayne Hibbert (17-3, 11 KOs) defeated Tommy Martin (13-1, 5 KOs) by a 12th round knockout. Martin hit the canvas in the 12th. The referee stopped the fight after Martin beat the count.
Other boxing action on the card:
Martin J. Ward TKO 3 Mario Pisanti
Ohara Davies TKO 3 Prince Ofotsu
Ted Cheeseman TKO 4 Gergo Vari
Deion Jumah pts 6 Colin Farricker
Craig Richards pts 4 Kieron Gray
Louis Adolphe pts 4 William Warburton
Lucien Reid TKO 1 David Kovacs