By Ian S Palmer
George Groves vs Eduard Gutknecht Preview November 18th
Eduard Gutknecht of Kazakhstan will be travelling to Wembley Arena in London England on Friday, November 18th to take on Britain’s George Groves in a 12-round bout for Groves’ WBA International Super Middleweight title. Gutknecht had a shot at the WBA Light Heavyweight title in March, but lost a 12-round unanimous decision to champion Jurgen Braehmer. He bounced back with a third-round stoppage over Artem Redko three months later. Groves last fought back in June when he beat fellow Englishman Martin Murray by a wide 12-round unanimous decision.
The 34-year-old Gutknecht is currently 30-4-1 with 12 Kos to his name. He’s won five of his last six outings with the lone loss coming to Braehmer. He also lost to Braehmer three years earlier by unanimous decision in a tilt for the European Light Heavyweight Title. However, this contest against Groves will be in the 168 lb. super middleweight division rather than the 175 lb. light heavyweight class. Gutknecht’s most recent wins have been against the likes of Redko, Arman Torosyan, Slavisa Simeunovic, Steve Kroekel and Christian Pawlak and none of them could be considered top contenders.
Gutknecht stands just under 6-feet tall and has an unlisted reach. He turned pro back in 2006 and has 244 rounds under his belt since then and has been quite active in the past few years. He doesn’t have much in the way of power though with a current knockout ratio of just 37 per cent. He’s got a decent chin and has been stopped just once in his four losses. His other two defeats came at the hands of Dmitry Sukhotsky, when the fight was halted after four rounds in 2013, and a 12-round unanimous decision to Robert Stieglitz in a shot at the WBO Super Middleweight Title in 2010.
The 28-year-old Groves won the vacant international title in April when he stopped David Brophy in the fourth round and then successfully defended it against Murray. He climbs into the ring with a record of 24-3 with 18 Kos. All three of his losses have also been against world champions. He was stopped twice by fellow countryman Carl Froch in fights in 2013 and 2014 and then dropped a split decision to Badou Jack in September of last year. Groves managed to drop Froch in the opening round of their first meeting and had him in big trouble, but let him off the hook. The Londoner has good power with a knockout ratio of 67 per cent, but Froch showed that his chin might let him down.
Groves is just under 6-feet tall, has a 72-inch reach and has boxed 164 rounds since turning pro in 2008. He’s a former British and Commonwealth champion who is determined to win a world title. However, he now needs to needs to get past Gutknecht if he wants to remain a top contender in the 168 lb. division. Groves gained a lot of confidence in his performances against Froch even though he lost them both, but he didn’t show enough energy or urgency in his outing with Jack. He has fine boxing skills to go along with his heavy fists and likes to use his jab, but Froch showed he’s vulnerable to counter punches if he leaves himself open for too long.
At this stage of their careers it looks like Groves is certainly the better boxer and also has more power than Gutknecht. But like all boxers, he has to do more than just show up to win. Groves needs to focus all 12 rounds and keep his hands going. As long as he’s throwing punches all night long he’ll either stop Gutknecht in the second half of the fight or cruise to a decision.