Q&A with George Groves: “I still haven’t achieved what I set out to achieve as a kid”
WBA Super World Super Middleweight champion George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) is hungrier than ever and wants to cross off more achievements on his bucket list. First, he has to get pass ‘ballsy’ Jamie Cox (24-0,13 KOs) in a Muhammad Ali Trophy quarter-final clash October 14 at The SSE Arena Wembley in London where tickets are on sale ranging from from £35 to £130 at stubhub.co.uk at axs.com.
This is Cox’s first big fight – whereas you’ve been there for some time – how important is your experience going to be – and do you think Cox can handle the pressure?
“Experience is very important. You don’t understand it until you got it and even when you got it it’s still difficult to understand. I’m sure it will play a part. Cox has boxed at a high level as an amateur but he’s yet to do it as a pro. Let’s see if he can cope. I’m sure he will be well rehearsed in the build up and well drilled in the gym but putting it together under the spotlight on the biggest stage is always the most difficult task. I’ve been there and done it before, but let’s see if he can.”
Cox talks a good game and appears confident – he says you’ve been over indulging – have you still got the hunger?
“I’ve still got the hunger. I’ve still nowhere near achieved what I set out to achieve as a little kid. I haven’t won enough belts, I haven’t won enough fights, I haven’t made enough money, and until all those and a few other things are crossed off the bucket list, I’m more hungry than ever. I finally know what it feels like to be a World Champion and I don’t plan on surrendering that anytime soon. Now I would like the feeling of winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
How has your training been going?
My training has been going really well. We’ve had plenty of time so we’ve been able to structure a long camp. Everything is on track.
You’ve been improving with every fight since teaming up with Shane McGuigan. Do you expect this to continue? Is there still room for improvement?
“100% I think I’m becoming a better and better fighter. Obviously with the physical experience of training and being in big fights you’re going to improve, but also with Shane’s guidance, I feel that I’ve improved as a fighter. I’m adding more and more to my game. I’m more and more comfortable in various situations. I’ve always been comfortable against southpaws. Cox is the first southpaw I’ve been working towards with Shane McGuigan but we’re on course and we know what we need to do.“
You’ve said you’ve known Jamie a little bit, you roomed together as amateurs, from what you know about him, what do you think his mind set will be going into this fight?
“He’s a competent chap. When I knew him he had a lot of desire. Although his professional record doesn’t suggest any desire because he’s been a pro longer than me and he still hasn’t been in a real fight. He’s had breaks, he’s had injuries, he’s had personal issues. I’m sure now he decided this is his last crack at the whip as a professional boxer he’s going to try to knuckle down and prepare to the best of his abilities. I’m preparing for the best Jamie Cox. He’s fit, he’s strong, he’s aggressive, he’s ballsy, but they are all things I possess as well so I’m sure it will make for a great fight. I certainly feel I have the measure of him and I have a few advantages, which I’m going to reveal on the night.“
Does fighting in London, your hometown, at The SSE Arena Wembley, where you have enjoyed some good nights before, give you an advantage?
It’s lovely for me to fight at Wembley. Wembley is good for me because it is so close to home. I can do every moment of preparation in my own surroundings. I’ll be at my own gym, I can sleep at home in my own bed the night before the fight. All these things will be an added benefit come fight night because for me personally, this is how I do best.