George Groves took a step closer to another world title shot by beating Eduard Gutknecht last Saturday evening at the Wembley Arena in London.
Just yards away from Wembley Stadium where Groves fought in front of 80,000 fans against Carl Froch just over two years earlier, the Hammersmith boxer was dominant throughout and eventually claimed a unanimous decision victory.
So far, Groves has found a world title belt to be agonisingly out of reach, suffering a pair of stoppage defeats at the hands of Froch and dropping a decision to Badou Jack.
The win over Gutknecht puts him in line for some big fights next year. Here are three fighters that Groves may well end up facing off with in 2017.
Tyron Zeuge (WBA champion)
Groves has now made two successful defences of his WBA international super-middleweight title, each defence pushing him ever closer to another shot at a portion of the WBA’s world title.
Earlier this month Tyron Zeuge won the title bystopping Italian, Giovanni De Carolis, in the 12th round in a surprise result in Potsdam, Germany. Those two men are likely to meet again for a third time in 2017 but if Zeuge can defend his belt, Groves could be in line to meet him in the summer.
At the age of 24, Zeuge does not have anywhere near as much as experience as Groves. The British man would be extremely confident of becoming a world champion at the fourth attempt.
Badou Jack (WBC champion)
In September 2015, Groves met Jack for the WBC super-middleweight title. After a disappointing performance, he lost a close split decision on the scorecards in Las Vegas.
Jack has defended his belt once since that victory and came through a tough battle with Lucian Bute with a draw. Many people felt the Romanian-Canadian boxer had won the fight.
A lot depends on whether Jack can defeat British boxer James DeGale in their unification fight in January. Although he is a 2/1 underdog in the betting markets, if Jack comes through that fight successfully, Groves may be able to get another shot at the 33-year-old, this time in the UK.
James DeGale (IBF champion)
James DeGale is regarded by many boxing fans as the most underrated British world champion today. The super-middleweight won his world title in May 2015 when he defeated American Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF crown.
DeGale has since beaten Bute and Rogelio Medina, both of those wins coming by decision. He goes into the Jack contest with a professional record of 23-1, with his only defeat coming against Groves when the pair met early in DeGale’s career.
If DeGale comes back to the UK with the IBF and WBC crowns, it could set up a huge box-office domestic fight with Groves in the middle of 2017 at a football stadium with the defending champion looking to avenge his defeat to ‘The Saint’.
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