Let’s be honest – this probably isn’t going to be a classic. Though a rejuvenated George Groves is back on the scene in pursuit of his fourth world title shot, Andrea di Luisa is little more than a stepping stone. The 33 year-old Italian (18-3) has shared a ring with the likes of Lucian Bute and Christopher Rebrasse, though he failed to hear the final bell in both cases.
To be fair to Groves, his time with new trainer Shane McGuigan has been limited, and jumping straight back in with elite opposition may have proven disastrous. The 27 year-old super-middleweight looks in tremendous shape under his new training regime, and his knockout record points to only one outcome – a demolition job.
16 of Groves’ 21 victories have been via stoppage, and Di Luisa was blown away inside four rounds on the only other occasion he fought outside Italy – when he travelled to Canada to face Lucian Bute less than six months ago.
Similarly to McGuigan’s other new fighter David Haye’s last outing, Groves has an opponent in front of him with questionable pedigree to make himself look good. Haye dismissed Mark De Mori emphatically in the first round earlier this month, and is now firmly considered to be back in the world title mix. Groves and McGuigan’s plan is surely similar, though Groves refused to accept he had picked an easy opponent:
“I could’ve come back and had a fight down the bottom of an undercard and knocked out some nobody inside two or three rounds, but I haven’t done that. I’m topping the bill live on Sky Sports against an opponent that is going to be hungry, he’s live and he’s here to ask serious questions. Di Luisa is a good fighter and the perfect fight for me to get myself back into the mix. I want to get two or three fights before the summer and then we can look at where we are at ranking-wise and see what opportunities are open to me.”
The plan is simple – blow away Di Luisa and get back within range of a world title shot. At just 27 years of age, Groves has time on his side, and a lucrative rematch with domestic rival James DeGale remains on his agenda.
“I’ve got nothing but good will to James DeGale. He’s had his own tough times, but right now he’s riding high. A lot of people have said his last fight with Lucian Bute was closer than the six rounds he was given it by, but I didn’t see it. As long as he’s still winning, good luck to him. My time will come.
“I should be in contention for another World title in the summer because I have the profile and the performances to match. If James is still World champion then maybe our paths will cross, but I am just focused on getting myself into range of a World title shot and that’s what I want.”
You can watch George Groves vs. Andrea di Luisa live from 19:30 on Sky Sports 1 HD.