Cleverly v Bellew II: James DeGale brands Carl Froch a 'coward' while George Groves wins in Liverpool
Last Updated: 23/11/14 10:48am
Super-middleweights James DeGale and George Groves recorded contrasting victories at the Echo Arena – keeping both men on target for a world title challenge in 2015.
Londoner DeGale sent out a statement by becoming the first man to stop Marco Antonio Periban inside the distance, the Mexican being floored inside 30 seconds of the third round.
A long, looping left landed on Periban’s chin and after a brief flurry to follow up he slid along the ropes and down to the canvas.
It looked like he would be able to beat the count and carry on fighting, but experienced referee Howard Foster had already made the decision to call a halt to proceedings.
The warning signs had been there for the 30-year-old South American from the opening minute, ‘Chunky’ landing a right hook right on the button. The same punch hit home in the second, though the usually accurate DeGale became a little ragged in trying to put his opponent away.
“He's never been stopped, Sakio Bika couldn't stop him and I was only getting warmed up,” he told Sky Sports Box Office afterwards.
“That left hand is my shot at the moment. I hit him and he was stumbling around, he wasn’t in a position to carry on.”
DeGale is the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt currently held by Carl Froch, who was working for Sky Sports at the event.
"I respect him but I think he's being a bit of a coward not fighting me - fight me or vacate the title," he said of Froch, who has yet to decide what he will do in the future.
Groves, meanwhile, was made to work a little harder against Denis Douglin, overcoming some early concerns to eventually see off the American in the closing stages of the seventh round.
‘The Saint’ was in danger of committing a cardinal sin in his bid to earn a third crack at a world title, Douglin following the instructions of his mother and trainer Saphya to threaten an upset during the opening rounds.
The southpaw from New Jersey found Groves an easy target to hit, one heavy right in particular drawing gasps from the crowd. The blow, though, only seemed to kick the Englishman into life.
Despite a nasty cut across the bridge of his nose, Groves began to up his work-rate and fight at a pace that Douglin simply couldn’t match.
By the sixth it seemed ‘Momma’s Boy’ was fading, and two right hands in succession knocked him down in the next. When he came under pressure again soon after, the referee stepped in to save him taking too much punishment.