Champion Groves sends warning to Smith

Paul Smith has been told he will make a huge mistake if he attempts to trade punches with George Groves in their Bonfire Night showdown at Wembley Arena.

Hammersmith’s Groves defends his British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles – and his unbeaten professional record – against the tough Liverpudlian a week on Saturday.

Smith, 29, was the British champion before losing to James DeGale, who was narrowly outpointed by Groves in their May grudge match.

“I’m going to break him down and then knock him out.”

Despite being outclassed by DeGale and stopped in nine rounds, Smith has been tipped by many to cause Groves problems because of his aggressive style.

But Groves told West London Sport: “He’ll fight in a style where he’ll throw shots but end up taking shots too – and if he does that it’ll be a mistake, because the shots I’m going to be landing he won’t be able to absorb for 12 rounds.

“Those punches will have a cumulative effect. I’m going to break him down and then knock him out.”

Smith has bounced back strongly from the DeGale defeat, knocking out Paul Samuels and Hungarian Jozsef Matolcsi in the first round, improving his record to 31-2.

He says he has what it takes to inflict the first defeat of Groves’ career and put himself in the frame for a world title shot.

“I feel he is an overrated fighter who had a one-off performance against DeGale,” Smith declared.

A win would move Groves a step closer to a world title shot

“DeGale is an awkward fighter to face. When you get in the ring he surprises you with the shots he throws. Groves had the advantage having sparred with him in the past – there was no shock factor.

“His win against DeGale does not give me any nightmares. I know I have the style to beat him. He leaves himself open.”

But Groves countered: “I think he’s saying that to use it as motivation for himself because he knows he’s in for a tough night.

“He also knows that after losing his title last year, he’s not going to get too many opportunities to get back to where he wants to be.

“For that reason it’ll be a tough fight and he’ll be up for it, but I know what I need to do.”