• Boxing

Groves targeting Dirrell as DeGale is left in cold

Nick Parkinson
February 2, 2015
George Groves, right, has distanced himself from a rematch with James DeGale © Getty Images
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George Groves is concentrating on challenging WBC world super-middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell, rather than negotiating for a rematch with James DeGale.

Nottingham's three-time world champion Carl Froch, 37, is set to announce he is vacating the IBF belt as he recovers from a shoulder injury and has said he has no interest in fighting DeGale either.

Froch's decision on the IBF belt means Londoner DeGale, 28, will fight for the vacant IBF belt at the O2 Arena in London on April 25 - but his bitter rival Groves insists it will not be against him.

Groves is upset with comments DeGale's promoter Eddie Hearn made to ESPN last week.

He told his Sportslobster account: "Wow @EddieHearn can talk some waffle. @jamesdegale1in a 50/50? 10 steps forward and I've took 10 steps back. I haven't lost a round in my last two fights. James stopped a fat out of shape dude who showed up with no trainer.

"When I box I sell out arenas or stadiums. When James boxes he sells out his soul. I don't need to bow to you sir Eddie. I'm following my path and I'm not your w****. I'm happy to work hard for it, to gamble with it and to be patient with it. Make me a sensible offer."

Despite talks over a 50-50 rematch with Hearn, Groves - who beat DeGale on points in 2011 - wants to face American Dirrell instead after earning a mandatory challenger position.

"I really want to win the WBC belt - Anthony Dirrell is the focus," Groves told the Brent and Kilburn Times. "We are preparing for a fight. We don't know who it is going to be against yet, but we are quietly confident that it will be against Dirrell.

"Right now, I'm not really focused on anyone else. We've had an offer for the DeGale fight. We've come back with a counter offer.

"I've beat DeGale already and I think that fight is always going to be there. There is no rush for it. "I'd much rather have a world title fight against Dirrell than a rematch against DeGale."

Froch had hoped to face Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas but will now wait to see if that fight can be made for May or June.

Andre Dirrell - brother of Anthony - who lost a close points decision to Froch in 2009, is next behind DeGale in the rankings while Groves is ranked at No.4 with the IBF.

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