Groves wins 5th fight in style!!

5 10 2009

by David Simpson

Super-Middleweight prospect George Groves won his fifth straight fight in fine style at the York Hall on Sunday, stopping tough Latvian Light-Heavyweight Martins Kukuls in the 5th round of their scheduled 8 round contest.

Groves v Kukuls

Groves v Kukuls

Showing impressive punch variety and patience, Groves produced a superbly assured performance to dominate every round before eventually breaking down a very durable opponent. Indeed, late replacement Kukuls proved to be far stronger than a glance at his record might suggest and provided a good test for the young prospect from Hammersmith. Groves had been scheduled to box Matthew Barr, a fighter currently placed slightly above him in the British rankings, only for the Southpaw to pull out at late notice leaving Kukuls to step in. However, the Latvian brought a big heart and a tight defense and Groves displayed excellent maturity for a young pro, taking his time before eventually opening up in style to land some crippling body shots in the 4th and 5th, flooring his opponent and forcing the referee to call a halt to the contest.

Groves_KukulsGroves was boxing for the first time since April and was greeted with a huge reception as he entered the ring inside Bethnal Green’s historic York Hall, site of his two Senior ABA triumphs. The popular Londoner, known as ‘The Saint’, received superb support for a fighter boxing in only his fifth professional contest with a sea of colourful George Groves T-shirts adorning the Hayemaker 10 headliner’s ever-growing army of fans. And it isn’t hard to see why the hard-hitting 21 year-old is so popular, thoughtfully wearing a black armband and dedicating his bout to Darren Sutherland, following his tragic death three weeks ago.

No doubt keen to put a few rounds under his belt after a prolonged absence from the ring, Groves made a measured start to the contest, feinting well and showing good movement as Kukuls gamely looked to come forward. It was a promising start to the fight, with the Latvian showing he had come to win, purposefully attempting to back Groves onto the ropes and unload. He landed very little though, missing with the left hook several times in the opening two rounds as Groves displayed good defense and footwork to avoid any trouble whilst countering with some thunderous shots.

groves_kukulsGroves started the third in impressive fashion, working the jab with more frequency and picking off his opponent at will, the Latvian finding it virtually impossible to get inside. But it was in the 4th round that the fight really came to life as Groves used the jab to force Kukuls backwards onto the ropes before unloading with some crunching hooks to the body. Several such bursts ensued before an excellent right uppercut sent the Latvian back-peddling onto the ropes. Groves rained in the body shots again as he looked to finish the fight but was halted by the bell as the round came to an end. The fifth saw more of the same as Groves used his excellent jab to back up Kukuls and set-up the shots to the body. By now, the Latvian was showing a very tight defense, with his hands tucked high and very few punches being returned. It meant Groves needed to be accurate with his punches and he was, landing a sweet left to the midsection that brought Kukuls to his knees. The ref gave him an 8 count before continuing the action, but as the crowd roared, Groves stormed forward and rained in blows to the head and body, landing some crunching shots that eventually convinced the Kukuls corner to throw in the towel. The referee didn’t spot this at first but soon stopped the fight anyway, delighting the crowd as their favourite improved his record to 5-0 (4 KO).

Groves floored Kukuls with a left to the body

Groves floored Kukuls with a left to the body

Groves showed the kind of patience and poise that proves he’s ready to be in with a better level of opposition, but after over five months out of the ring, Sunday’s fight was a welcome workout for the Londoner. “I’m feeling good. It all went to plan. He was a tough nut to crack, he made me work, and so all the stuff we’ve been practicing in the gym that I wanted to put into the fight I was able to do”, said Groves afterwards.

Having recently signed with promoter Frank Maloney, ‘The Saint’ now looks set to be a lot busier in the final months of 2009. “I’ve got a hectic schedule in the next five weeks. I’m boxing on Frank Maloney’s show up in Sunderland on the 16th in 12 days time. I’ll be boxing alongside Tony Jeffries and Travis Dickinson, the next two around my class, so I’m out to prove I’m better than them guys.”

Groves_HayeGroves will also be fighting on the undercard of David Haye’s Sky Box Office Heavyweight title fight with Nikolai Valuev on Nov 7th. “I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a dream come true to box on a Heavyweight World title show.” Groves said. “My debut was at the O2 on his undercard and now I’m boxing on the undercard of his Heavyweight World title fight so I can’t wait.”

A solid performance and an exciting few weeks ahead for ‘The Saint’ then, which should see his stature within the British Super-middleweight scene continue to grow alongside his legion of fans. I look forward to seeing him step up in class and, who knows, maybe we’ll see those multi-coloured T-shirts out in force again for a fight with Tony Salam at the beginning of next year…

groveslinkswhite

Robert Lloyd-TaylorElsewhere on a packed Hayemaker 10 bill, Robert Lloyd-Taylor made a fine return to the ring after nearly a two-year absence, outpointing tough pressure fighter ‘Lightening’ Lee Noble from the Ingle stable. Lloyd-Taylor produced the sharper, cleaner work throughout, catching Noble consistently as he came forward and showing some neat uppercuts in the middle rounds before weathering a late storm in the 4th to take a 40-37 points win.

Nathan WeiseFight 2 saw Nathan ‘Sugar Boy’ Weise look impressive winning comfortably 40-36 against experienced Matt Scriven. Weise used his superior speed to good effect, peppering the Nottingham man with left jabs and flurrying well when needed to keep Sciven at bay.

Daryl SetterfieldDaryl Setterfield outpointed Kevin Lilley 40-37, backing up his opponent onto the ropes constantly and firing in hooks, though Lilley countered well in a closer fight than the referee’s score suggested.

IMG_1486Jamal Morrison looked slick and full of confidence as he outpointed Duncan Cottier 40-36. Morrison has fast hands and showed great variety in the fight, mixing up left hooks to the head and body with some good right hands, always in control of the bout.

IMG_1658Finally, Caine Brodie received great support as he produced a superb performance to defeat tough Adam Wilcox in a thrilling final undercard fight. Wilcox came out all guns blazing, aggressively winging in hooks at Brodie. But the 27 year-old moved well and countered brilliantly, hurting Wilcox more and more as the contest went on. Brodie landed some great one-two combinations in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and Wilcox was visibly hurt in the 4th but bravely boxed on, as Brodie took the fight 40-36 to extend his record to 4-0.

All photographs are courtesy of Simon Pollock at GTVONE.COM – Contact him direct for more info.

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6 10 2009
Boxing Photographer Etiquette, How to photograph boxing | gtvone photographic

[…] Etiquette I had a brilliant little outing in Bethnal Green yesterday, I went along with my mate Dave to shoot for “Groves V DeGale“  for the first in hopefully a few pro boxing matches. I […]

10 11 2009
George Groves: 1 Year as a Pro… « GrovesVDeGale

[…] related posts: (automatically generated)Groves to fight Jonkus on a Friday night for the future!!Groves wins 5th fight in style!!Saint steals the show in Sunderland!!Casamayor and Judah both win in ring […]

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