George Groves has joined rival James DeGale at Frank Warren Promotions. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
George Groves pulled a U-turn today, signing with Frank Warren Promotions instead of Matchroom Sport. The young British super middleweight champ was rumored to be headed to Matchroom recently, and most felt it was all but a done deal, with Groves supposedly set to fight on a Matchroom card in the near future.
Instead, the 23-year-old Groves (13-0, 10 KO) has gone with the veteran Warren instead of the momentum-building Matchroom, in a move that is both surprising and helps Warren hold fort for the time being.
Warren says that a rematch with Groves' bitter rival James DeGale is a natural fit, but won't come immediately:
"He's a good fighter and the last fight against James DeGale was the first time I had worked with him. Of course, everyone is asking about a return with James, who I represent, and it is an obvious fight that will definitely happen again. The last fight was very close and a few observers felt that it could have gone either way. One thing's for sure the public will want to see it again. It's a big domestic rivalry that will become ever bigger."
Groves will still be trained and managed by Adam Booth, who along with David Haye promoted Groves at Hayemaker Promotions until this move. Moving to Warren will allow Groves to easier get big fight dates on Sky Sports, and doesn't really hurt much at Hayemaker, which most see as a vanity promotional company concerned almost entirely with the career of David Haye, which is not a knock but just a fair assessment, and not unusual for fighter-led promotional outfits.
Warren has been under pressure from Eddie Hearn and Matchroom this year, as that stable has added Carl Froch, Darren Barker, Gavin Rees and Kell Brook in recent months. Groves going to Matchroom seemed to put them in a position of clear No. 1 promotional company in the UK, at least in my eyes, but now Warren has another good young fighter with an established name to go alongside Nathan Cleverly and James DeGale, and Warren still has the best prospects in the UK under his banner, too.