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Preview: Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, George Groves

Sports Mole previews the fights involving Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and George Groves this weekend.

It has taken 13 fights, but British heavyweight Anthony Joshua will finally compete for his first title on Saturday night when he faces Gary Cornish for the Commonwealth strap at the O2 Arena in London.

Joining Joshua on the bill is long-time rival Dillian Whyte, with the pair scheduled to face each other on December 12 should they both prevail this weekend. Later that night, British super-middleweight George Groves will attempt to become a world champion at the third time of asking when he challenges Badou Jack for the WBC title in Las Vegas.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at the three encounters, while attempting to predict who will prevail from each bout.

1. Anthony Joshua vs. Gary Cornish

Since his professional debut in October 2013, promoter Eddie Hearn has been working Anthony Joshua towards opportunities to fight for the various belts in the sport, and while the London 2012 gold medallist holds the WBC international title, Saturday night will represent a significant step up for the 25-year-old as he looks to embark on a route that he hopes will lead him to a world title next autumn.

Joshua has already been touted as a future world champion by many within the boxing fraternity, but he will be aware that he still has some way to go to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko or Deontay Wilder. The next step of his progression is expected to come this weekend when he takes on Gary Cornish, a Scot who is yet to taste defeat as an amateur or professional and who is an inch or two taller than Joshua.

Anthony Joshua celebrates his victory over Denis Bakhtov during their Vacant WBC International Heavyweight Championship bout at O2 Arena on October 11, 2014© Getty Images

Looking at Cornish's record, it is not easy to pick out a stand-out result given the quality, or lack of, of his previous opponents, but like Joshua, Cornish has earned his shot to fight for the Commonwealth belt and he can't be overlooked by Joshua. Regardless of whether he is the heavy favourite or not, this is a chance for the Londoner to adopt a champion's mindset and go through the process of preparing himself for championships fights that may occur in the future.

It would be considered a huge shock if Cornish becomes the first man to make it into the fourth round against Joshua, while it would be a monumental upset if Cornish were able to defeat the home-town fighter. As in any fight, it only takes one punch to change a career, but if Joshua can adapt to being the smaller man for the first time in the paid ranks, his sharpness and power should be enough to discourage Cornish during the early stages, and from then onwards, it should only be a matter of time until he registers another stoppage win.

2. Dillian Whyte vs. Brian Minto

Up until late last year, Dillian Whyte was the forgotten man of British heavyweight boxing after spending two years on the sidelines because of a drugs suspension. Since his return, the 27-year-old has showed that he has the desire to become a force in the sport by racking up six successive wins to take his unbeaten record to 15 matches.

His latest victory - a one-round blowout of Irineu Beato Costa Jr - put him in line to get a crack at Joshua in December if they can both earn success on Saturday night, and it is a showdown that will elevate Whyte into the public eye. However, to get that opportunity he must first see off the experienced Brian Minto, who has been drafted in as a late replacement after Dominic Guinn pulled out of the fight.

The American is a decent test for Whyte at this stage of his career. It was only 14 months ago that the 40-year-old went seven rounds with talented New Zealander Joseph Parker. Minto will be taking part in his 51st fight, however, and having fought just three times - all in the same night - in over a year, he is not expected to last too long with Whyte, who will be disappointed if he cannot get the job done inside three rounds.

3. Badou Jack vs. George Groves

After being emphatically knocked out by Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium last summer, George Groves was left with two options - to sit around and lick his wounds, or to embark on a new route towards another world title shot. Groves chose the latter, and within weeks of the setback, his representatives Sauerland Promotions revealed that a route had been mapped out for him to eventually challenge for the WBC super-middleweight title. Just over a year since that announcement, Groves is hours away from attempting to complete that journey.

For the best part of eight months, Groves had been expecting to face Anthony Dirrell, but his shock defeat to Badou Jack in April left the former European champion with a different foe for the summer. Jack is not regarded as the strongest of the world champions, but the execution of his gameplan against Dirrell has been one of the most impressive performances of 2015 so far and he has the chance to further increase his stock this weekend.

George Groves celebrates his victory after beating Noe Gonzalez in their International Super Middleweight match on May 25, 2013© Getty Images

Jack has had limitations in the past and before Dirrell, he didn't possess a win over a top contender at 168lbs, but his last outing would have given him confidence that he previously wouldn't have had. After an even start, he finished strongly and deserved the win by unanimous decision, rather than majority.

As for Groves, he has been out of the ring since November after producing an average showing against Denis Douglin. A lack of motivation and Douglin's southpaw style may have contributed to his performance, but it has still been nine months since he stepped into the ring and he will be conscious of needing to be tuned into the fight from the opening bell.

With all things considered, this contest could easily steal the spotlight from the main event at the MGM Grand, but only if both men are at their best. Jack is strong, both defensively and physically, while Groves has the big-fight experience and has shown that he has the punch-power at this level. Both men are predicting a knockout, but with everything on the line, don't be surprised if it ends in a split-decision either way.

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George Groves celebrates his victory after beating Noe Gonzalez in their International Super Middleweight match on May 25, 2013
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