Joshua vs Breazeale: George Groves defeats Martin Murray on points
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 26/06/16 8:40am
George Groves edged closer to another world title shot after battling to a convincing points win over Martin Murray.
The Hammersmith fighter hurt Murray on a number of occasions in an eagerly awaited domestic clash and claimed a unanimous decision with three scores of 118-110 at The O2.
Both men had previously fallen short at the top level, but it was Groves who would earn victory in an eliminator for the WBA super-middleweight title, while Murray vowed to fight on despite the one-sided defeat.
Groves started the fight on the front foot, testing Murray's high defensive guard with a string of range finding punches, but little damage was done in a cagey opening round.
Murray appeared to be carefully measuring up Groves, who bounced confidently on his heels while stabbing out a stiff jab.
But the St Helens man gave a glimpse of what was to follow, briefly bullying Groves to the ropes in the third, and Murray came out firing in the fourth.
As Murray marched forward, Groves again found himself caught in the corner, and was left with a cut over his right eyebrow following a close-range assault.
This early injury failed to unsettle 'The Saint', who unleashed a sharp right hand in the fifth round, while Murray briefly turned his back in the sixth and was punished by a flurry of punches.
Worse was to follow for Murray as a jolting uppercut left him on unsteady legs in the closing seconds of the seventh round.
Groves resumed his attack in the eighth, lashing in a left hook, and the bell again seemed to spare Murray when a right hand staggered him again in the ninth.
Faced with defeat, Murray would stage a desperate assault in the 10th, and briefly threatened a stunning comeback when he pumped out punches with Groves backed to the ropes.
But Groves answered any concerns about his stamina and hurt Murray once more in the final round as both fighters wearily traded punches until the final bell.