GEORGE GROVES gained an epic blood-drenched warfare with Chris Eubank Jr final night time to retain his world title.
The WBA super-middleweight grudge combat became a brutal slugfest on the Manchester Enviornment.
An unintended conflict of heads within the third spherical left challenger Eubank with blood pouring from a two-inch gash above his proper eye and Groves spattered with it.
Even ref Michael Alexander’s white shirt was coated with claret because the fighters waded into one another.
By the 12th spherical Groves was combating with simply his proper hand after struggling a suspected dislocated left shoulder.
And as Eubank went for a late knockout, the ringside TV digital camera was hit with blood.
Nevertheless it was Groves who in the end earned a unanimous factors verdict to maneuver into the ultimate of the inaugural World Boxing Tremendous Sequence remaining.
Londoner Groves left the ring along with his left arm in a sling and went to hospital for a check-up.
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He stated: “The higher man gained on the night time.
“Credit score to Junior for getting by way of 12 rounds, I didn’t assume he would. Chris didn’t lie when he stated he was going to grit it out. That was a terrific combat for the followers.”
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Eubank said: “I couldn’t see out of my right eye for most of the fight but a cut’s a cut and you have to deal with it.
“George has got the heart of a true champion and did what he had to do. I thought I did enough in the later rounds to win it. But hopefully we’ll get the rematch on.”
This grudge match was three years in the making and both men traded insults throughout the build-up.
Bookies had Eubank as the favourite, a fact that seemed to rile Groves, a veteran of three world title losses before finally clinching his WBA strap.
Groves’ very first jab found its target and Eubank did not swarm the champ with the early onslaught many expected.
When Eubank, 28, tried to attack he was prodded back by the low- swinging left arm that Groves whips into a jab.
A second-round assault from Groves put Eubank in his place, but a flurry of punches in the neutral corner from both men sparked the audience.
Eubank fired off a rapid combo in the third and seemed to hurt Groves, but it was the Brighton fighter who had started to bleed from the corner of his right eye.
SUNSPORT’S ROUND BY ROUND REPORT
1 – Groves took control – as expected and threw the better jabs, the very ifrst shot snapped JR’s head back and set the tone
2 – First real exchange came in the second- both chins passed the test in a shootout in the neutral corner – Groves started to look to big and strong in the clinch
3 – Eubank started the round well with a trademark flurries of punches but a cut appeared on the corner of right eye and soon became a major problem.
4 – Groves could smell the claret trickling down his rival’s face – Eubank was landing with his right but causing no problems for the champion.
5 – Eubank was not doing enough – even though he had always vowed to start every fight strong after his loss to Billy Joe Saunders. Groves’ style means he always nicks rounds and Eubank let him.
6 – Scrappy round Groves was using the grappling to sap away at Eubank’s usually excellent engine.
7 – Eubank came back here and grabbed a round but his shots looking desperate more than measured and Groves as on familiar ground.
8 – Sensing his second career defeat, Eubank missed with three massive hooks, Groves made him look silly, and connected with a couple late on.
9 – Eubank won round with early flurry – Groves looked tired but in control – the grease used to stem the blood was fading and the referee’s shirt turned pink.
10 – Eubank looked tired, he’d been manhandled and pushed through the ropes and to the canvas too many times.
11 – Great chin and effort from the challenger but not enough quality as Groves gets within touching distance of grudge-match win
12 – Suddenly Groves’ razor-sharp left arm, usually swaying at his waist and poised to attack, went limp. Looked like a dislocated shoulder. Eubank but Groves somehow clung on with his one good hand.
Right hooks from Eubank were landing, but they never looked like hurting the Hammersmith man, who appeared to be in control.
Groves, 29, showed his class in the eighth by evading three wild hooks and made Eubank look amateur.
Eubank started the ninth well when a combination caught the Londoner. But the early work was not really built on and it only really kicked off AFTER the bell as both men swung punches.
The gash on Eubank’s face looked gruesome, but that did not stop the younger man attacking like a raging bull.
The referee’s shirt was now caked in blood from splitting the pair. But although Eubank seemed to be running out of gas, his chin and courage were superb.
The pair touched gloves at the start of the last round in a show of respect.
Eubank unloaded in desperation, but Groves tied him and teased him, until he injured his left shoulder.
Then it was a case of clinging on until the final bell.
The night got off to a decent start for the Eubanks as younger sibling Seb won his pro debut.
But the 26-year-old was still rowing with security staff outside the arena at 5.45pm and had his 6.05pm bout put back.
After an age queuing for accreditation, SunSport bumped into the fighter at the media gate and asked if he had already been on and won.
But Eubank replied: “No, I cannot even get them to let me in and I am supposed to have a fight in 20 minutes.”
The five-rounder with Pole Kamil Kulczyk eventually went ahead at 6.30pm and Eubank won on points.