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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Thursday, 5 May 2011 17:26 UK

Boxers James DeGale and George Groves renew rivalries

George Groves and James DeGale
Groves (left) beat Olympic champion DeGale as an amateur

British super-middleweight champion James DeGale and opponent George Groves have renewed hostilities ahead of their clash at the O2 Arena on 21 May.

The pair are old rivals from their amateur days with Groves famously once beating the Olympic gold medallist.

But British champion DeGale claims that Groves is bitter of his success at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"He was jealous of me as an amateur and he has been jealous of me ever since I turned professional," said DeGale.

The pair came face to face on Thursday at their old hunting ground at Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club where Groves inflicted that defeat on DeGale as an amateur.

They are both unbeaten as professionals, with DeGale earning 10 victories and eight knockouts while Groves has 12 wins and 10 KOs.

But while DeGale's career has been full of publicity, the achievements of big-hitting Groves have slipped under the radar.

On 21 May, the argument of who is better will finally resolved.

"It all came flooding back when I walked through the doors again," said DeGale.

"All the blood, sweat and tears that it took for me to win that Olympic medal.

"It also reminded me of just why I don't like George Groves.

"He thought he was going to the golden boy of British boxing, but he had to watch me get the glory instead.

"I used to play with him sparring here, and I'll play with him when we meet on 21 May."

DeGale, 25, says he hopes to fight for a world title by the time the 2012 Olympics begin and is not concerned by the threat posed by Groves.

"His biggest weakness is his defence, he has no defence. No defence at all," added DeGale, who has been sparring with Welsh light-heavyweight Nathan Cleverly.

"He can't box, he can't fight on the ropes. He doesn't know how to hold.

"The inside fighting bit, he just can't do it. Basically he is going to get battered or be a kip on the floor. That's it.

"Game over, ugly boy. You're done. Finished, finito.

"I'm off moving onto bigger and better things, you're going to be a kip on the floor or just battered and bruised."

But Groves hit back by saying: "James knows that I can beat him, and that makes me a very dangerous opponent.

"He's a good fighter but I'm winning the mental war ahead of this fight.

"I've got the psychological edge over him. I can see he's worried. I spent so much time around him as an amateur that I can read him like a book.

"And he is in for a very painful chapter of his life at the O2."

Opponent Groves attended Thursday's press call with his trainer Adam Booth, who is best known as coach of WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye.

DeGale believes Booth will have a major influence on Groves heading into the bout, but believes his opponent's aptitude will not be able to match his attitude.

"Remember his trainer is Adam Booth and I think he has a degree in psychology so obviously he is going to hype up his man, get into his head and stuff like that," he said.

"He is going to be confident but, as I've said before, Georgey Groves has more balls than brains.

"Please believe me. That is going to be his downfall."



see also
DeGale to face Groves challenge
17 Mar 11 |  Boxing
Groves eyes DeGale after victory
05 Mar 11 |  Boxing
DeGale may face old amateur rival
03 Feb 10 |  Boxing
Superb DeGale lands boxing gold
23 Aug 08 |  Boxing


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