GEORGE GROVES doesn’t dislike Chris Eubank (Senior). In fact he quite likes him, even if he will be merciless when he fights his son, Eubank Junior in February. He recalls bumping into Eubank, while Groves was celebrating his birthday.

“My wife took me out for my birthday with my family to the Dorchester for afternoon tea. Before we got there I thought I hope we don’t bump into Senior. Then I saw him in the lobby… He walked past he saw me, he came back and he said some lovely words about me to my mum and dad. From then on he’s respectful, he’s lovely, he’s a great fighter,” Groves said.

However Groves is convinced the Eubank team is out of their depth when it comes to challenging for his WBA super-middleweight title. Eubank Jr certainly responded when Groves insisted Chris Junior was facing a pivotal moment in his relationship with his father.

“He wouldn’t let me finish my point. And it is a pivotal point between him and his father. I did wonder; their relationship, is it strained? Do they have a good relationship outside of boxing? Does his dad get on his nerves? Does he give him the wrong advice at the wrong times? Because it’s all well and good when you’re fighting for British title but now he’s fighting for a world title in a sold out Manchester Arena. Will his dad fold? Because it’s the first time he’s dad’s been in a big fight in a long time. And his dad knows that he’s not going to win. The son might believe he’s going to win, the dad knows he’s not. He’s as good as told me. He knows that,” Groves said.

“I think in a desperate time he’ll be anchoring towards his father [but] he’s been found wanting. Over the years, before my time, but I’ve seen it, not to make it about the father, but the father’s been found wanting and he’s supposed to be the fella that’s guiding and nudging Junior in the right direction. I don’t believe he is. Commercially Junior’s done it himself and he’s done it well with the aid of the father, managerially the dad’s pulled him in and out and stumbled across this position, which we all have. This tournament is a brand new thing and free agents went in it. And there’s great prize money and it’s a great format. Up until now he’s managed to create something out of nothing. Maybe that is the God complex. But now it’s materialised into a real fight, a big fight and I don’t believe it’s a fight that they can possibly prepare for, let alone win.”

Chris Eubank Jr vs Avni Yildirim

Groves concluded, “He might be able to get fitter but if he’s fit to fight 12 rounds now, what can he do? There’s nothing else he can, absolutely nothing else. So all I’ve got to do is show up in shape and knock him out.”