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Groves Eubank Jr fight will take place in Manchester

The fight will go ahead in Manchester as opposed to London. Credit: PA

George Groves' WBA super-middleweight title defence against Chris Eubank Jr will take place at the Manchester Arena in February with an exact date to be confirmed.

The champion, from London, had hoped their highly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-final would take place in the capital, potentially at one of its football stadiums.

The series' promoters have now said he will instead return to the Manchester Arena for the first time since one of his finest performances in his first fight with Carl Froch, in 2013, when he dropped the then-defending champion and outboxed him before the controversial late stoppage.

Brighton's Eubank Jr faces his most dangerous fight to date, but like Groves - who made the first defence of his title by stopping Jamie Cox in four rounds at Wembley Arena last month - impressed during the competition's quarter-final stage.

The 28-year-old travelled to Germany, where he defeated Avni Yildirim of Turkey via knockout in the third round, and will fight for a recognised world title for the first time.

A mutual rival of Eubank Jnr and the 29-year-old Groves, IBF champion James DeGale, returns to the ring against America's Caleb Truax on December 9 and has spoken of his desire to fight the WBSS' overall winner.

Fellow Briton Callum Smith is scheduled to fight Germany's Jurgen Braehmer in the other semi-final, on a date and location that is still to be confirmed.

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Groves: Froch wouldn't have beaten Calzaghe

Froch and Groves in the ring. Credit: PA

George Groves has paid a qualified tribute to the retiring Carl Froch, lauding him as a "tough, strong man" but questioning whether he would have been good enough to hold his own against previous British super-middleweight greats.

Groves and Froch did not hide their dislike for each other in the build-up to their two big bouts and the controversial manner of the stoppage in their first fight clearly still rankles with the Londoner.

"Carl Froch was a tough, strong man, very tough, I don't know how he would have got on with those guys," Groves told Sky Sports News.

"I don't think he'd have beaten Calzaghe, Calzaghe would have been too quick for him. Him and Nigel Benn would have been an out-and-out war. Benn has a bit more skill and class about him but that would have been a great fight to watch.

"He's a tough man to beat, Carl. Sometimes you think you've got him and then a bit of controversy gets in the way. Sometimes you're boxing really well, you're in full control, and one punch can change a fight. There's plenty of fights of Carl Froch's that I've watched and thought 'he's losing this', or 'he's not going to get the win', and he ends up getting the win.

And Groves, who has won two straight bouts since his second loss to Froch in May last year, said he hoped the pair could put their differences aside now that Froch had hung up his gloves.

"We don't need to be friends of course: I've got friends. But there's a rivalry when you're going to box and now that he's no longer a fighter that rivalry isn't there."

Froch: Hitting Groves was the most satisfying punch of my career

Carl Froch says the punch that beat George Groves is the most satisfying of his career.

The pair met at Wembley Stadium in May 2014 and despite being knocked down by Groves in the first round, a single powerful blow from Froch stopped the fight in the ninth, meaning he retained his IBF and WBA world titles.

“The genuine needle in that fight, the genuine rivalry, made for what was the biggest fight in British boxing history. It takes two to tango, I needed a dance partner and George Groves was just that," Froch told ITV Sport.

Relishing the victory, Froch's relationship with Groves is infamous in the boxing world: “I wouldn’t choose to try and be his friend, but there’s no hate in it. I exorcised my demons when that right hand landed on the jaw... It was the most satisfying punch I’ve ever landed.”

Carl Froch: Sports Life stories will be on ITV4 at 10pm on Tuesday April 14, get a taster of the programme in the video above.

Catch up on the other Sports Life Stories episodes on ITV Player now

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