World champion and WBSS finalist 'Saint' George Groves (28-4, 20KOs) hangs up his gloves aged 31 and released a statement on his decision to enter into retirement:
TO my friends, family, and all of the people who have supported me throughout my career.
After taking a little time to reflect on the recent events in my career, I have decided that it is time for me to retire as a professional fighter. In 2017, I boxed in front of a home crowd in Sheffield and became the WBA super middleweight world champion. After four attempts I had finally fulfilled my childhood dream, and the experience was as great as I had always imagined it would be. It was without doubt the best moment of my career.
Boxing has been good to me and I believe I have been good for boxing. I hope I have entertained you all; I have always strived to be the best fighter I can be. Although we step through the ropes on our own, of course every fighter is backed by a team, and not just the ones in the corner. There are many, many people that have helped me on my way to fulfilling my boxing dreams and I would like to take this opportunity to thank as many people as I can. Below are the people I would like to thank most, and a bit about how each and every one of them shaped me into the champion fighter I became.
I first began my journey into combat sport at the age of 7, with Jason Stevens at the Scorpion kick boxing club in Fulham. He instilled determination into me, and a champions work-ethic that separated me from kids my age and set me on my path.
Next comes my professional career. Having turned professional at 20 years of age I want to thank some of the key people who I have worked with over the past 10 years who I believe have only ever put my best interests first.
My solicitor and good friend Neil Sibley who has taken care of me my entire career; he has always gone above and beyond in securing my best interests and has been an invaluable member of my team. I cannot thank him enough.
My strength and conditioning coaches- past and present- who have transformed me into an athlete; Pete Marcasino who I worked with for the James DeGale fight, my good friends Dan Lawrence and Barry O’Connell who I worked with for both Froch fights and the Badou Jack fight, and Darryl Richards who I have worked with since joining the McGuigan gym.
Mick Williamson who has got me through some bloody nights. He’s never failed me and he’s always been a person of great experience to have on my side.
Kevin Lidlow who has taken care of all my medical needs since turning professional- and there has been a lot! He is one of nicest people I know and the most professional individual I’ve ever met. He was key in rehabilitating my knee before my first pro fight. Since then he has taken care of broken hands, broken ribs, a deviated septum, a dozen cuts, a broken jaw, a thousand aches and pains and a dislocated shoulder. A true genius who has extended my career time and time again. Also a thank you to Ben Carraway who I spent months of intense rehab with, working on bringing my shoulder back to fitness in an impossible timeframe. Without these two I wouldn’t have made the WBSS final.
My media and business agents Duncan Ross, Dean Baker and everyone at Wasserman who have helped me build my public profile, managed my public appearances and negotiated my entry into the World Boxing Super Series. They have generated money for me without having to get punched in the face and helped take care of the minute details on fight weeks that can be the difference between winning and losing.
To everyone at McGuigan’s gym who were the difference between success and failure. In particular my coach Shane McGuigan who reinstalled my belief and guided me to my greatest night. Barry, Jake and Blain McGuigan who have helped in camp and on fight night, Josh Pritchard who works my corner on fight night and is Shane’s right hand man. Also to Jimmy Tibbs who Shane has brought into my corner the last couple of years- it’s been great to have his experience on hand too.
Meeting Shane was the turning point in my career. He was the missing piece I needed to fulfil my full potential. Without him I don’t know if I would have ever got there. As a trainer, Shane gave me the spark back, got me in the best shape of my life, and with his unwavering dedication helped me become the number one recognised fighter in the division. For this I am eternally grateful. I will leave my fighting days with a friend for life in Shane.
I want to thank some good friends who have played a part too. Philip Sharkey, a boxing photographer I met at his Oxford Street studio 10 years ago. Tomasz Szewczyk and Davide Nicolosi, my security team who have been looking after me since before the Degale fight. My long time sponsors Graham Granville and Adam Garland of Zircom, & Darren Golden of Exigo. My friend David Simpson who has managed my website and press at the start of my career. Natalie and Will at Noyo Food for taking care of my nutritional needs for the past few years. My fellow fighters who have become friends through regular sparring; Sergej Rozvadovskij, Miles Shinkwin and Chris Billam-Smith.
I want to thank everyone in the sport; the TV companies and their staff who have shown my fights, the promoters I’ve worked with, the journalists who have covered me and travelled the world to do so. Of course I need to thank the fans who have supported me, and ultimately paid my wages! To all of you who have bought tickets to my fights, bought the PPV’s, bought the T-shirts, stopped me in the street to show support, or sent me kind emails and messages after both good and difficult times; thank you. The support I have received over my career from people has always been amazing.
The biggest thanks has to go to my family. My wife Sophie who is my childhood sweet heart. She has been through every high and every low with me and her support and love has kept me going through the darkest of times.
My Mum and Dad, Yvonne and Donnie, who have always given me fantastic support from the very beginning and pushed me in everything I have ever done. They’re my biggest fans & I’ve always known how proud they are of me.
Lastly a prayer for Eduard Gutknecht who suffered a brain aneurysm after our fight in November 2016. He was put into an induced coma for 3 weeks and bravely fought his way back to consciousness. He lives in Germany with his wife, 3 children and a full time carer. This fight brought home the realisation that boxing can have brutal consequences. After this, I truly felt like my fighting days were numbered. After winning the WBA world title I decided to only continue fighting while it felt necessary.
After the birth of my second son last year and losing in the final of WBSS, I knew the desire to fight had left me. Retiring at 30 was a suggestion I first heard 10 years ago. I thought it was a good idea then and I still do now.