Groves to face former champion Johnson

George Groves will fight former world champion Glen Johnson at the ExCeL London on 15 December.

The veteran Jamaican, 43, has been named as the surprise opponent for Groves’ defence of his Commonwealth super-middleweight title on the Frank Warren-promoted bill, which will be headlined by Scotland’s world lightweight champion Ricky Burns.

Johnson won the IBF light-heavyweight title in 2004 and later that year pulled off a sensational victory by knocking out Roy Jones Jnr.

His long list of opponents also includes Nottingham’s world champion Carl Froch, who won a close points decision when the pair met last year.

Groves, unbeaten in his 15-fight professional career, expects the wily Johnson to provide his trickiest test so far.

“It will be my toughest challenge – no-one has an easy fight against Glen Johnson,” said the 24-year-old.

“I’m buzzing for the fight and am preparing for 12 hard rounds because he will give anyone a hard night’s work. I’ll be ready.”

Groves, from Hammersmith, recently relinquished the British title after a planned September defence against mandatory challenger Kenny Anderson failed to materialise.

An expected rematch with Anderson – who floored him before he battled back to win when they met in 2010 – was scrapped because of a cut Groves sustained in a bruising encounter with Francisco Sierra in California in July.

Earlier this year Groves was forced to withdraw from a world title shot against German-based Russian Robert Stieglitz – then the WBO champion – because of injury.

“It’s been a difficult year but I had a good win in America and now I’m going to have another good win in December,” he said.

“It’ll be a tough challenge but I’m ready for it. I’ve felt ready for quite a while. I’m heading in the right direction for a world title.”

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