Relaxed Groves unfazed by Froch – trainer

George Groves’ clash with local rival James DeGale was a bigger test of his nerve than this weekend’s world title fight, according to the Hammersmith man’s trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick.

Groves, then 23, upset the odds by edging a close points decision against Olympic gold medallist DeGale in front of a sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in May 2011.

And Fitzpatrick believes that experience is partly why the unbeaten challenger is unfazed by being the underdog ahead of Saturday’s showdown with super-middleweight champion Carl Froch.

“Here’s a dude who is very composed and very at peace with where he is,” Fitzpatrick told West London Sport.

“He’s been on the big stage far before Carl Froch was in his career. In only his 12th fight he fought on pay-per-view [against DeGale] in front of 20,000 people.

Groves is convinced he will overcome Froch.
Groves is convinced he will overcome Froch.

“And this fight is easier emotionally than that one. Then he had to fight a fellow Londoner from the same district, the same amateur gym.

“Emotionally that is very testing and trying and he’s proven that he can keep it together.

“Don’t forget out of 31 experts before that fight, 29 had him losing, so opinions don’t mean anything.

“You can be in a room and when someone walks in you can pick a vibe up from them.

“I think anyone around George at the moment would pick up the vibe of a man who is very much relaxed about where he is right now.

“He’s already proved to himself that he is ready emotionally for this stage and he’s proved technically in all his fights that he’s ready. Now he’s got to show everyone.”

Irishman Fitzpatrick stepped into the breach after it was announced in September that Groves was no longer being trained by Adam Booth.

Fitzpatrick had previously been part of the Groves camp and was an obvious person for the former British champion to turn to.

Booth’s absence has raised eyebrows ahead of his protege’s step up to fight a man with considerable top-level experience who is widely fancied to successfully defend his WBA and IBF belts.

But Groves and his team point to weaknesses of Froch which were exposed in defeats against Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler as well as a questionable points win against the slick Andre Dirrell and a last-gasp stoppage of a fading Jermain Taylor.

“By nature we’re pretty much all sheep. You get one man in a crowd who nods and then they all nod,” Fitzpatrick added.

“Carl has had two years now with Eddie Hearn where he’s been promoted wildly and he is a warrior – he’s top drawer.

“So when you have somebody who is proven against somebody who is coming through, there will always be the question about whether he’s ready.

“When the champion is a strong champion they usually say [about the challenger] that it’s too soon and he hasn’t done anything yet.

“But you can’t have done it until you do it. Carl did it in his 24th fight, Joe Calzaghe in his 23rd, Andre Ward in his 19th and now George will do it in his 20th.”



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