Copper Box Arena Report – Junior middleweight George Groves made a successful return to the ring on Saturday, Jan. 30, scoring a fifth round TKO over overmatched Andrea DiLuisa at London’s Copper Box Arena. Groves advanced his record to 22-3. His lone defeats were in world title fights, two of which were scorchers with countryman Carl Froch.
It was Groves’ first fight with new trainer Shane McGuigan. The 27-year-old Londoner had the Italian invader on the canvas twice in the fifth round before DiLuisa’s corner threw in the towel.
The Groves-DiLuisa match was the linchpin of a 14-bout card that included two regional title fights.
The bout between John Wayne Hibbert (16-3) and young Tommy Martin (13-0) for Hibbert’s British Empire super lightweight title had the earmarks of a lusty encounter and didn’t disappoint. Hibbert ended the action-packed 12-round contest with a flurry of punches in the final round that sent Martin to his knees, leading the referee to waive the bout off.
John Ryder overcame a nasty cut to win the vacant WBA International middleweight title (not to be confused with the world middleweight title; “international” being a sub-set in the lexicon of sanctioning organizations) with a 12-round unanimous decision over would-be spoiler Sergey Khomitsky. Ryder is now 22-2. Khomitsky, a solid journeyman, declines to 30-13-3.
Leon McKenzie also appeared on the stacked card. A former professional soccer player of note (sorry blokes; we call it soccer on this side of the pond), McKenzie won his sixth straight fight with a 43-second blowout of Kelvin Young. McKenzie, who competes in the 168-pound class, has a strong boxing pedigree. His father Clinton McKenzie held the British super lightweight title. His nephew Duke McKenzie held a share of the world bantamweight title.
McKenzie, a southpaw, is an intriguing 37-year-old prospect, if there is such a thing.
Check out The Boxing Channel‘s video with results and highlights.