MANCHESTER: WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves has warned Chris Eubank Jr. that a lack of professionalism is setting him up for failure ahead of Saturday’s title fight in Manchester.
Groves, 29, defends his title against fellow British fighter Eubank Jnr in their World Boxing Super Series semi-final at the Manchester Arena on Saturday – Groves’s highest-profile bout since two defeats against Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014.
Eubank Jr., the son of former middleweight and super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank Sr., makes little secret of the fact he does not work with a traditional trainer or training set-up, and similarly to Groves before he fought Froch, has regularly promoted himself on social media.
Since this weekend’s fight was confirmed, the champion has maintained a significantly lower profile, and he said of Eubank Jr.: “He is that ignorant. He thinks he can do it himself. ‘The cornermen give me water: I do the rest, I train myself, I know what I’m doing’.”
“It doesn’t work – the greatest fighters in the world have a great team or trainer around them just to nudge them in the right direction. The dad is supposed to be that, but it’s the blind leading the blind. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, especially the dad. He’s lost his grip on reality.”
“I thought he might take himself off to Vegas and do a camp out there, work with some sort of decent trainer, you’d definitely be getting good sparring. But he hasn’t – he’s decided to come back home, train himself, spar anyone he can get hold of.”
“He’s got success through putting out videos and attaching himself to big names and not having a real fight. The difference here is he’s in a real fight.”
“I remember thinking Eubank Jr.’s got the right ingredients,” Groves added. “He’s got the right attitude, he’s tough – he’d get bashed up in sparring but be there again the next day ready – and ambitious.”
“Now he’s gone so far the other way, the bad habits are permanently ingrained in him from doing so much casual work from hitting bags and pads.”
Almost four years have passed since Groves lost his rematch with Froch and suffered what he called the “fall from grace” from which he had to rebuild his reputation.
“Jr. might be looking beyond this fight like I did,” he said.
“I definitely looked beyond the Froch rematch – not because I thought it was a foregone conclusion, but I was supremely confident that I was going to do the job, I’d done a bit too much PR in the build-up, which was taxing, and come fight night, I’d obviously got it wrong.”
“It was a whirlwind. It was draining, it was taxing.”
“He wants to do that, he is looking beyond this fight. It’s who’s better on the night, and have you prepared correctly? This is about who’s better, and he’s not.”