Super middleweight contender George Groves has taken a surprise turn ahead of his return clash with bitter rival Carl Froch at the end of the month by signing for German promoter Team Sauerland.
Rumors of the west Londoner’s decision had first surfaced Monday evening in the UK and have since been confirmed via a joint press statement from Groves and Team Sauerland, released Tuesday.
Groves, THE RING’s No.5-rated super middleweight, had been managing his own affairs, with assistance from the likes of Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn, since splitting with Hayemaker trainer/manager Adam Booth last year, including negotiating the terms of his contract and purse for the highly-anticipated May 31 grudge rematch against IBF titleholder Froch, which takes place at a sold-out 80,000-capacity Wembley Stadium, north-west London.
However, 26-year-old Groves is convinced that agreeing a long-term deal with Team Sauerland, who are the powerbrokers of the European boxing scene, can only help his charge towards the 168-pound summit.
“I am extremely pleased to have signed with Team Sauerland,’’ said Groves (19-1, 15 knockouts), who a week this Saturday bids to avenge his controversial 9th-round TKO by IBF holder Froch in November last year. “I have boxed on their shows in the past and have known Kalle and Nisse (Sauerland) for years. The shows they put on in Europe are phenomenal.
“This is definitely a step in the right direction for me as I look to build my name not only across Europe but all around the world. I feel that now I have the right team in place to help me achieve everything I need to in boxing.’’
Groves is the second high-profile English fighter to join the German promoter, following in the footsteps of Liverpool heavyweight David Price, and Kalle Sauerland is delighted to have acquired another of Britain’s top talents.
"We are proud to have won the race for George’s signature and look forward to guiding one of the most exciting talents on the planet,” he said. “We are sure that George will write boxing history and delighted that we will be a part of the journey on a personal and business level.’’
Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt