Back on the super middleweight scene under new coach Shane McGuigan. George Groves (22-3, 17KOs) dominated and stopped Andrea Di Luisa (18-4, 14KOs) at the Copper Box in London, in just five rounds.
Groves showed great upper body movement, rolling away from Di Luisa’s wild hooks. Dropping in some crisp jabs and loaded right hands at his opponents midriff. The Saint implemented his jab in the second round as he continued to show impressive speed and timing, finding success to the head and body. The body work from Groves was clinical in systematically breaking down the Italian.
Groves controlled the action and continued to keep Di Luisa at bay in the third with impressive timing and ring generalship.
Di Luisa landed some rare, effective shots, whenever Groves switched off with his head movement or showed at rare points flat, tangled footwork, something that will most likely be worked on by McGuigan. Groves was dominating the action and starting to let his punches go, later in the round. Big right hands and swift combinations showed Di Luisa that the Groves from 2013 was slowly rising from the ashes.
In the fifth, Di Luisa began to understand that he was well out of his depth. He went down from a hard shot to the body and seemed like a fighter who had enough and was ready to quit. Groves smelt the victory and in true fashion went in for the kill with a combination that sent Di Luisa down again. The Italian looked over to his corner and willed for them to throw in the towel.
Groves showed he has fuel left in the tank, having arguably not exhibited upper body movement and hand speed like that since the first Froch fight. The feints and jabs to the body were a welcome addition to the Groves arsenal. He should be happy with his progression under the young McGuigan.
Some areas for improvements could be in Groves’ ability to get caught needlessly numerous times, by shots which can be avoided. Also, the Hammersmith man has made a habit of loading up his right hand rendering it ineffective. The aim should be to let it flow like a jab. The power will return. These points are made with a glance towards a potential DeGale or Callum Smith fight, in which mistakes like this may prove costly.
John Wayne Hibbert (17-3-0, 11KOs) put on an experienced performance to stop former sparring partner and friend Tommy Martin (13-1-0, 5KOs) in the final round to defend his Commonwealth and WBC international super lightweight titles in an early fight of the year candidate. Both men went toe to toe from the first bell, landing vicious blows and fighting like it was their last fight.
Hibbert landed clean through the middle rounds but some nifty footwork from Martin caused Hibbert problems in maintaining his dominance.
In the final round Hibbert caught Martin with some stunning shots sending the young fighter to the canvas. Martin was then counted out by the referee sending the arena into a frenzy.
John Ryder (22-2-0, 12KOs) won a hard fought points victory over Sergey Khomitsky (30-13-3, 13KOs) to claim the WBA international middleweight title.
Ryder looked lethargic at times, the Gorilla showed signs of mental fatigue in a career dogged by yo-yo performances.
There were some closely contested exchanges with Ryder coming out on top throughout the middle rounds. Ryder caught the Belarussian with sharp clean shots in the eighth round and again in the tenth, however, both boxers were wary of having their night ended early, which caused the later rounds to become a cagey affair.
In the end John Ryder forced the victory and won the fight, in retrospect, he should have been winning comfortably and by a wide margin over a ring worn 42 year old, who has seen better days.
Ben Hall (8-0-1, 2KO) won the Southern Area super welterweight title with a six round stoppage over Kris Agyei-Dua (8-4-2, 3KOs).
Martin J. Ward (13-0-2, 7KOs) retained his WBC international super featherweight title with a three round win over Italy’s Mario Pisanti’s (16-3-1, 5KOs).
Ward showed signs of clever boxing and then immaturity at times, being hasty and trying to please the crowd. History shows that, by and large, attributes like that in the past do not bode well in the European and World levels.
Deion Jumah (8-0-0, 3KOs) outpointed Colin Farricker over six rounds (3-2-0, 1KO) in his first professional fight in England.
Jumah whose style is in the mould of trainer Adam Booth, found it hard to implement his strategy on his game opponent. He wore down Farricker as the rounds went by with sheer persistence. The Sauerland star has a lot of potential, in a weak division. Unfortunately, power seemed to be in short supply as he failed to trouble Farricker with many of his power shots.