Groves blasts away Smith at Wembley

Hammersmith’s George Groves magnificently retained his British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles with a stunning second-round stoppage of Paul Smith at Wembley Arena.

Smith had a decent first round but was sent to the canvas by a thumping right hook in the following session.

The challenger got to his feet but Groves followed up with another right that put Smith down again, prompting the referee to call a halt.

This victory keeps the unbeaten 23-year-old on course for a possible world title shot in 2012.

It was his first fight since a points win over bitter rival and fellow West Londoner James DeGale in May.

For Smith, 29, the clash was a chance to get back the British title DeGale took from him – and subsequently lost to Groves – by stopping the Liverpudlian in a one-sided contest last year.

Citing the boxing mantra that styles make fights, Smith believed his aggressive approach would cause more problems for Groves than the rangy southpaw DeGale.

He certainly unsettled Groves in the opening round, catching him with a left hook after the defending champion missed with a right, and then connecting with a big right seconds before the bell.

But Groves responded in emphatic fashion, flooring Smith a minute into the next round and the fight should arguably have been stopped after the first knockdown.

Smith protested bitterly at the eventual stoppage, but he was unsteady on his feet and deemed to be in no position to continue.