British super middleweight George Groves, a former world titleholder, has announced his retirement from boxing, just two months shy of his 31st birthday.
“After taking a little time to reflect on the recent events in my career, I have decided that it is time for me to retire as a professional fighter. ... Some of you might think it odd that I’m choosing this time to retire. I’m still young, still fit and healthy, and there are still some big fights out there for me. But it’s for these reasons that I’m choosing to retire now. I have a young family at home; it’s time to spend some of my better days with them. I don’t want there to be a time where I’m ‘too old’ to box on, or where an injury retires me in or out of the ring. Over the years I have seen and sadly known the dangers of the sport, and I want to respectfully bow out while I’m still at the top of my game. I’ve learned that doesn’t always mean coming off the back of a win. I’ve boxed at the highest level, all over the world, I’ve been a champion, and I’ll be leaving the sport (relatively!) intact.”
Groves last fought on Sept. 28 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he was knocked out by rising star Callum Smith in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
Groves began his professional career in Nov. 2008, and in his ninth fight in 2010, he beat Charles Adamu to win the Commonwealth super middleweight title via sixth round TKO.
He got an early taste of a big main event in 2011, when he faced James DeGale, a fellow unbeaten, heavily promoted prospect, and a bitter rival from their amateur days. Groves won a majority decision over DeGale, surprising many, and captured the British super middleweight title in addition to the Commonwealth belt.
In 2013, Groves got his first world title shot, facing IBF champion Carl Froch in Manchester. Groves started fast, dropping Froch in the opening round, and led on all three scorecards through eight rounds.
In the ninth, Froch hurt Groves, and poured on a tremendous amount of sloppy pressure, with referee Howard John Foster eventually stepping in to give Froch a highly controversial stoppage win.
The two met again six months later, this time at Wembley Stadium, another competitive bout until Froch landed a vicious right hand that knocked Groves out in the eighth round, ending their rivalry.
After a pair of 2014 tune-up wins to get back on track, Groves got a third world title shot in Sept. 2015 on the Mayweather-Berto undercard in Las Vegas, facing Badou Jack for Jack’s WBC title.
Groves went down in the first round of that fight, but clawed back and made it close, eventually losing a split decision and dropping to 0-3 in world title fights.
But Groves remained determined to get over that hump, and rattled off four straight wins before facing Fedor Chudinov in May 2017 for the vacant WBA super middleweight title on the Brook-Spence undercard at Bramall Lane in Sheffield. In his retirement post, he called that fight “without doubt the best moment of my career.” Finally, he had won a world title.
Groves then entered the ambitious World Boxing Super Series tournament as the top seed, and defeated Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jr in the opening rounds, before dropping the final to Smith.
All in all, it was a successful, memorable 10-year run for Groves, and he showed a lot of determination and spirit over his career. If he stays retired — and as always, it’s boxing, and he’s still young — he’ll leave the sport with a career record of 28-4 (20 KO).