Groves wins grudge match to deny DeGale

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Groves wins grudge match to deny DeGale

LONDON - George Groves ended Beijing Olympic champion James DeGale’s unbeaten record as a professional with a narrow points victory over his longstanding rival on Saturday.

The pair, who both boxed at the same London club as amateurs, had traded insults in the build-up to this British and Commonwealth super-middleweight title fight.

DeGale, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and British title holder, in particular, was adamant he would avenge his defeat by Groves in the Amateur Boxing Association championships six years ago and repeatedly “trash-talked” his opponent ahead of this bout.

But it was Groves, who felt he ought to have the Olympic spot that went to DeGale, who prevailed at the O2 Arena on Saturday with two judges making him the winner by a single point and the other scoring a draw.

“Everyone was raving about him ... but I have self-belief,” Groves told BBC Radio Five Live. “It feels good. I knew I’d won. I knew I’d done enough.”

As for the idea of a rematch, he added: “I will fight him again if everything is all right and it’s the right way. But now I have beaten him twice.”

Victory gave Groves his 13th win in as many pro bouts as he put the first blemish on a pro record for DeGale that now reads 10 wins and one defeat.

Groves came into his own in the fourth round but, although he was arguably the more consistent of the two, DeGale produced plenty of eye-catching moments. The pair traded blows until the final bell before Groves edged the contest on the judges’ scorecards.

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