Five defining fights of George Groves's career

Ahead of his bout with Carl Froch at Wembley on Saturday night, Sports Mole takes a look at five fights that stand out in George Groves's career.

British super-middleweight George Groves will attempt to avenge the first loss of his professional career on Saturday night when he faces Carl Froch for the IBF and WBA titles at Wembley Stadium.

A rematch between the two Brits was made after the controversial ending of their first encounter, which saw referee Howard Foster rule that Groves was taking too many unanswered punches from the champion in the ninth round, but the result of their initial contest sees the pair meet again in a bout that has been dubbed the "biggest in British boxing history".

Below, Sports Mole takes a look back at five matches from Groves's 20-fight career that have helped propel him onto the world scene.

1. Kenny Anderson

Groves had sailed through the opening 10 matches in the paid ranks while also picking up the Commonwealth strap from Charles Adamu, but he was faced with a different challenge in the form of Kenny Anderson on the undercard of David Haye's world heavyweight title clash with Audley Harrison.

It was the Londoner's first outing in front of a major audience, and while Anderson hadn't beaten anyone of note since his debut, he was unbeaten and he entered the clash in confident fashion.

That confidence grew in the third round against Groves when he floored the champion and looked on course to stop his opponent, but Groves was just able to make the referee's count.

The duo were involved in a war, but when Anderson took his foot off the gas in the sixth, Groves capitalised with a flurry of hard-hitting blows that weren't being answered by the Scot and the fight was brought to a halt that resulted in Groves gaining more recognition from British boxing fans.

2. James DeGale

After building a rivalry that stemmed back from their amateur days, the animosity between Groves and James DeGale reached a peak during the buildup to their showdown for the British and Commonwealth titles at the O2 Arena in 2011.

Both men had spent a significant amount of their preparation goading the other, but DeGale's arrogant persona wasn't sitting well with the British public, and the Olympic gold medallist entered the ring to a chorus of boos.

James DeGale (L) of England fights George Groves of England in the British and Commonwealth Super-Middleweight Championship during World Championship Boxing on May 21, 2011© Getty Images

Groves had the better of the opening half of the fight, while DeGale showed more aggression in the latter part of the duel and potentially nicked the majority of the closing rounds.

However, with the result in the hands of the judges, Groves was handed the majority verdict, with two officials calling the match 115-114 in his favour while the third score came back 114-114.

3. Paul Smith

Groves's first defence of the British title saw him come up against Paul Smith, who was attempting to rebuild his career after a stoppage defeat to DeGale 11 months earlier.

While the hostility between the two wasn't on the same level as with Groves and DeGale, the tension in the pre-fight buildup suggested that the Wembley Arena crowd could expect an aggressive contest.

The opening three minutes were evenly contested, but Smith ended the round in control with several clubbing blows that sent Groves back to his corner visibly frustrated.

George Groves of England stands in the corner as the referee counts to Paul Smith of Engalnd in their British and Commonwealth Super-middleweight championship fight on November 5, 2011© Getty Images

However, that early scare sharpened Groves's concentration, and he quickly stopped Smith in the second with two knockdowns, the first of which was a perfectly-executed right hook, and the Hammersmith boxer was fast moving himself into contention for bigger fights in the future.

4. Noe Gonzalez Alcoba

After he defeated Smith, Groves spent eight months on the sidelines through injury, but on his return, he quickly added another four triumphs to his CV to edge nearer to a shot at a world title.

Two of those wins had come in the space of a fortnight, but Groves was given more time to prepare for his fight with Noe Gonzalez Alcoba in a encounter that would take place on the undercard of Froch's rematch with Mikkel Kessler.

Alcoba arrived in London with a reputation as a hard-hitter, while his only two defeats had come against Felix Sturm and Adonis Stevenson, and the Uruguayan showed signs in the first quarter against Groves that he could cause an upset.

However, a short right from Groves at the start of the fifth dropped the South American, and after he showed little willingness to make the count, Groves was pushed into a position where he became mandatory challenger for Froch's IBF belt.

5. Carl Froch

When the first showdown between Froch and Groves was made, the world super-middleweight champion frequently insisted that his fellow countryman had been elevated onto the global scene too soon, but Groves fired back by claiming that he had the tools to cause an upset in Manchester.

A surprise looked on the cards at the end of the first round when Groves landed a hard right that sent Froch to the canvas, but the bell saved the Nottingham man from further punishment and allowed him 60 seconds to recover.

Carl Froch celebrates victory over George Groves as the referee stops the fight in the ninth round during their IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight on November 23, 2013© Getty Images

Groves continued to control the fight during the opening six rounds, getting the better of Froch during a memorable exchange in the middle stanza, but Froch grew into the bout as it wore on and he began to find his range against a weary-looking Groves.

The match was stopped in the ninth round when Froch landed several punches on Groves, and although the challenger was providing a response, the referee ruled that he was taking too much punishment and called off the encounter, much to the dismay of a disappointed 20,000 crowd.

George Groves during an interview on January 23, 2012
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