HE starred in one of Britain’s most talked-about boxing bouts in recent years – and now he’s ready to pack a punch for South Tyneside fight fans.
George Groves is hoping to be a knockout draw when he visits the borough next month.
Still smarting from his controversial super-middleweight world title loss to Carl Froch in November, the 25-year-old Londoner is top of the bill for a sportsman’s dinner at Hedworth Hall, in Dean Road, South Shields, on Thursday, February 20.
Fans will be able to quiz the former British and Commonwealth champion about his career – including the hugely controversial ninth-round stoppage against Froch, by referee Howard Foster, when Groves had been looking to strip the IBF and WBA world titles from his Nottingham rival.
Groves’s appearance at the Hedworth Hall follows sell-out events last year which featured Paul Gascoigne, Frank Bruno, Nigel Benn and Larry Holmes.
Gavin Yanetta, venue manager, said: “Last year we had some big names in the sporting world come to Hedworth and this year will be no different.
“We have plans to bring some big names to South Shields, and we are thrilled to be able to confirm George Groves as our first boxing star taking to the stage to host a sportsman’s dinner.
“Last year’s events were fantastic with some brilliant feedback and we hope this year we will be able to deliver even bigger and better events at the venue.”
Groves, who had won all 19 of his professional bouts before his defeat against Froch in Manchester, is seeking a rematch this year.
He remains ranked as the No. 1 challenger by the WBO and IBF, No. 2 by the WBA and No. 3 by the WBC.
Tickets for the dinner, sponsored by Richmond Taxis, are priced £35 or £300 for a table of 10. This includes a two-course meal. The night is for over-18s only.
n A limited number of tickets are still available for an audience with former Sunderland boss Peter Reid and ex-England international Michael Gray.
The event, hosted by Phil Hourigan, will take place on February 6. Tickets are £35, which includes a curry supper. Doors open at 7pm.
For either event, contact Hedworth Hall on 456 3112.