x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 February 2018

Chris Eubank Jr just a 'gimmick', says George Groves ahead of title fight

WBA super-middleweight champion Groves is making the second defence of his title at the Manchester Arena on Saturday in all-British contest

George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr face off after their press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mancheste. Mark Robinson/Getty Images
George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr face off after their press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mancheste. Mark Robinson/Getty Images

WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves dismissed Chris Eubank Jr as a "gimmick" on Wednesday as the challenger said this weekend's title bout could be a defining fight for his career.

Groves is making the second defence of his title at the Manchester Arena on Saturday in all-British contest, with a place in the World Boxing Super Series final also up for grabs.

"This is a defining fight for me, this is the fight that can propel me to the top of the sport," Eubank Jr, the son of former two-weight world champion Chris Eubank, said at the pre-fight press conference.

"It gives me the right to say I am legitimately the best super-middleweight in the world."

Eubank Jr, 28, who has won his past eight fights since losing for the only time as a professional to Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014, added: "I don't think George is fully committed to this fight and I don't think he's willing to give everything to win.

"I am and there's nothing that George can do that is going to stop me."

Groves won a world title at the fourth attempt by stopping Fedor Chudinov last May, having fallen short in previous attempts against Carl Froch, twice, and Badou Jack, before defeating Jamie Cox in his first defence five months later.

While he played down suggestions of the importance of Saturday's fight to him, Groves, 29, rubbished Eubank Jr's questioning of his desire.

"This is not my biggest fight to date but I am in the form of my life, certainly in the best shape of my career, and fully prepared to go out and retain my world title in style," he said.

"I'm world champion and I want to continue to be. I've sacrificed a lot, I've been through some terrible times to get to where I am now. Desire is one thing that I know I've always had in abundance. I've been able to pick myself up from the lowest of points to get back to the top."

Groves quipped that Eubank Jr will "probably blame his dad and move back down to middleweight" if he loses.

"Junior is flapping already, he is a cliche, he is a gimmick," he said. "I've been here, I've done this many, many times. This is just another step along my journey."

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