Groves: ‘Dereck won’t survive 12 rounds’
David Haye’s stablemate and British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion George Groves talks Kenny Anderson, stepping up to elite level, and why he’s not betting on Haye vs Chisora going the distance…
George, do you have a date for your rematch with Kenny Anderson yet?
My promoter Frank Warren owns the rights to put on the fight, he won the purse bid and he gave the Board the date of June 30 but as far as I know there's no venue yet and no tickets have gone on sale.
If and when it does finally happen will it feel like a step backwards for you after being in line for a world title challenge?
I've got over that now, it was a big come down but I'm looking forward to the Anderson fight. I'm looking forward to shutting him up for good and showing everyone how much I've improved in the last few years since we last fought.
How good is it to have David Haye back in the gym and training for a big fight?
It’s great having him in the gym sweating it out. He's been training really hard as well, usually it was me dragging him along making him work hard but it’s been the other way round since he’s been back. Its great to have the atmosphere back in the gym, all his people are back, plus my people, and then we've got the sparring partners in as well so its really buzzing.
Have you had a few rounds of sparring with him yet?
I've had a few rounds with David just to sharpen him up and keep him going. He's got the speed of a super-middleweight with the reach of a heavyweight obviously so I have to have my wits with me. You can't let none of his shots slide in but at the same time I’m not holding back so if I see a shot there I'm going to take a swing at him.
So does David stop Dereck early?
Not early I think Dereck is a fighter who's a nightmare to box really, he can make any fighter look bad. He's going to make David work but David's hand speed, his power, his boxing ability, and his agility is stuff that Dereck's never going to be able to compete with. It might take a while but once David starts to land clean that'll be the end of the show. I think Dereck's not going to survive for 12 rounds, once David's shots do start landing they have a concussive effect, I've seen it with his sparring partners, I've seen it when he boxes. Dereck took a big step up to fight Vitali Klitschko in his last fight but that was a very poor Klitschko and it was a shame really cos we've seen much better from Klitschko in the past so you can't go off the back of that fight and say Dereck is going to beat Haye.
Your own division is packed with talent at the moment. What did you make of Carl Froch’s performance against Lucian Bute?
Carl boxed really well. I was up there doing some commentary for the BBC and it was a great night. Carl put on a terrific performance and exposed Bute, although I have to say I was a little bit disappointed in Bute, I expected a bit more from him. Carl jumped on him, hurt him early and got a great stoppage, and he's back in the game.
Your archrival James DeGale successfully defended his European title not too long ago – did you see it?
Yeah I saw DeGale box, he beat a guy that didn't really show up which was a shame for him really cos he's in the same boat as me, he's not boxing regularly as I think he would like and a real fight would have been right for him. But it was a mandatory and the guy just gave up after not to long so no doubt he wants to be a bit more busy.
Having both been in the frame for a world title shot recently would you say yourself and DeGale are ready to mix it at the elite level?
DeGale's got the European belt so next up is a world title challenge, and I've been mandatory for the WBO, that fell through but I'm sure if I wanted to I could get the winner of Robert Stieglitz vs Arthur Abraham for the end of the year. It’s just about getting a fight at the moment. There are plenty of people out there for me to fight so hopefully Frank Warren can get it sorted. If it’s Anderson next, that'll be nice to get him out of the way, done and dusted, and then move on to bigger and better things.