Shane McGuigan says he believes George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) is the best super middleweight on the planet and that the ‘Saint’ is ready to prove it starting on Saturday at Bramall Lane in Sheffield when he challenges Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) for the vacant WBA World title, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Groves will be making his fourth World title attempt following two epic clashes with domestic rival Carl Froch and a split decision loss to Badou Jack, and McGuigan feels it is these fights that have helped shape the man he will be leading into battle, and who he says is the number one fighter in the division.
‘’You either win or you learn, as they say, and George has learnt his lessons. He’s been in there with some great fighters, and even when he hasn’t won, he’s always held himself in good stead, and now, I believe it’s his time,’’ said McGuigan, who has led Groves to victories over Andrea Di Luisa, David Brophy, Martin Murray and Eduard Gutknecht since taking charge of his corner eighteen months ago.
‘’Chudinov is a well-schooled fighter. He’s obviously had a good amateur background, and he’s a former World Champion, but I don’t think he’s on the same level as George. He hasn’t mixed with the same class.
‘’His greatest attribute is his footwork, and if we take that away from him, it will be interesting to see how he adapts because George has got a fantastic jab, a great punch selection, great leverage on his shots and fantastic timing too.
‘’He’s definitely a good fighter. He’s small, he’s compact, and can punch with both hands, but I think George is going to come out there and put on a great show.
‘’It may seem brash or bold for me to say this about someone who’s had three failed attempts, but I honestly believe I’m working with the best super middleweight in the world, and now, we’ve just got to go out there and prove it.
‘’I think within the next one or two fights, George will be recognised as the best super middleweight out there. He is going to be the guy to beat!
‘’He’s already beaten James DeGale who has been touted as number one in the division. He lost a very close decision to Badou Jack when things weren’t right for George going in to that fight. He wasn’t at his best, and Jack was a very underrated fighter as we saw when he fought DeGale. I thought Jack won that fight, and I feel DeGale struggled a lot more against Jack than George did.
‘’There’s also young guys like Ramirez, who’s a very tough fighter, and Benavidez, who are hungry for the belts, but I would say at the moment it’s between George and DeGale for the number one spot, and a rematch will prove who is the best super middleweight out there.
‘’People tried to write George off after the Froch fight, but he’s regained himself. He’s back in the gym, and he’s back in love with boxing. You can see that in his performances. If he wins this World title, I feel he’s got the beating of James DeGale. He knows him from the amateurs, and that’s a fight we would be very confident of winning.’’
Groves’ clash with Chudinov is part of a huge night of action in Sheffield as Kell Brook defends his IBF World Welterweight title against unbeaten mandatory challenger Errol Spence.
Tickets for the night are still on general sale priced as follows: tiered seating at £40, £60 and £80 and pitch seats at £80, £100, £150 and £200 –VIP Packages are sold out.
Tickets are on sale from Sheffield United’s Box Office at http://www.sufc.co.uk/tickets/