An Interview with George Groves
By Will Lott
Luke Campbell will step in the ring with arguably the pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko on August 31st when he challenges the Ukrainian at the O2 for the WBO, WBA, Ring and the vacant WBC Lightweight titles.
Former WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves’ excitement for Vasyl Lomachenko’s title defence against Luke Campbell was clear for all to see at today’s press conference in London.
Groves who was standing in for Campbell’s trainer Shane McGuigan at the press conference said:
“I’m very excited for Luke to be involved in such a massive, prestigious fight. It will be a great fight to watch. I think it will do great numbers and I really can’t wait.”
Campbell will be up against it when he steps in the ring with lightweight kingpin Lomachenko on fight night but Groves remains confident.
“Lomachenko is a class act. He’s the best fighter in the world but anyone can get beat and sometimes it is about right time right place.
“This is Luke’s time. He’s come a long way, he’s vastly experienced and he’s now using that experience to his benefit. He’s had solid prep, he’s in a good headspace and he has the capability of beating Loma. I know he’s going to get it right.”
Lomachenko leaves many in awe with his intricate foot movement and boasts one of the highest ring IQ’s in boxing. Mix this with his power and timing, for an almost complete package. For Campbell to get the job done, he’ll have to get everything right on the day.
For Groves, Campbell’s versatility will be a crucial factor in the fight.
“The expression, roll with the punches is pretty much what it is. I don’t think there can be a set game plan for Lomachenko. Loma himself is a highly versatile fighter. You need to be mentally switched on throughout. You have to hit him hard to keep him honest and gain his respect. Luke has that ability.”
Groves elaborates further on his former stablemate.
“He’s big, he’s tall and strong. He’s got the knowing eye. He has got great adjustment with the feet and he has a great engine for the entire fight. It’s up to him to show up and be switched on to do the job. This isn’t Loma’s fight to lose. This is who’s going to show up and do the job and this is Luke Campbell’s night.”
The winner of this will likely look towards IBF title holder Richard Commey for a showdown for all the belts.
“There is only one belt left. Whoever comes out of this fight can definitely win it. Richard Commey is a really good fighter. He’s on the road but if Campbell beats Lomachenko you’d back him against anyone. That might be the next move after this but he won’t be looking past Loma.”
With regards to last Saturday, Groves was impressed by Dereck Chisora’s demolition of Artur Szpilka and discussed the idea of a Chisora vs Oleksandr Usyk fight.
“He’s a funny one Chisora. Sometimes he’s up for the big challenges and sometimes not.
“Usyk is one of the best fighters in the heavyweight division before he’s even had a fight. He’s a fighter who is a big lump but can actually box a bit which is hard to find in the heavyweight division sometimes. If you look at Andy Ruiz who probably could mix at middleweight, he’s probably the number one heavyweight right now. The heavyweight division is wide open and I think Usyk Chisora could be a great fight. Obviously it will sell big over here.”
Reacting to the Dave Allen David Price fight, Groves said “by all accounts Price fought really well behind a big solid jab and did what he had to do.”
Dave Allen has suggested he is considering retirement after his crushing defeat at the hands of David Price on Saturday night.
“If Allen’s heart isn’t in it, it could be the right move. It’s a dangerous game, especially in the heavyweight division and he’s not a big heavyweight. He’s taking big shots so if he is feeling that way than maybe but he definitely speaks his mind then and there. He might go away, evaluate and change his mind.”
Dillian Whyte finally confirmed his position as WBC mandatory challenger with a unanimous decision win over Oscar Rivas.
“A great win for Whyte. He got off the floor to see out the result. We’re still waiting on the WBC situation which is weird. Don’t get the champagne out yet just because he has been made mandatory. I thought he already was mandatory. He’s been number 1 for two years.
“The WBC have two more fights before Whyte can get his hands on it so he just has to keep busy. Stay in the public eye. Keep taking the PPV fights where he is making good money.”
Should Whyte face Wilder next year Groves thinks the result depends on which Wilder shows up.
“I do think he hits so hard he can put anyone away. It will be Whyte’s biggest test to date by some stretch. I’d love Whyte to win and if he’s on form and gets inside Wilder’s head he has a good chance but he’d have to be careful of Wilder’s big right hand. It comes from a long way and travels with some speed and he just puts people away.”