Amateur standouts ‘The Saint’ George Groves and Michael Maguire will return to their old amateur stamping ground on Sunday, February 1, only this time they’ll be appearing at the illustrious York Hall in Bethnal Green as professionals.
Now promising, unbeaten pros, Groves and Maguire will form part of "Hayemaker 4", an intimate non-TV show at Britain’s home of boxing. The February 1 date gives both Groves and Maguire an incentive to stay busy over Christmas and continue their unbeaten runs into the New Year.
Former two-time Senior ABA champion Groves, currently 1-0 as a pro, is straining at the leash to re-visit the home of his proudest amateur nights.
“I won my second ABA title at the York Hall in May, and now I’ll be having my second pro fight at the same venue in February,” says the 20-year-old Groves. “You couldn’t ask for a better place to box. When the York Hall is packed out to the rafters it creates an atmosphere like no other boxing arena. It may not be the biggest venue, but it definitely has the most character.”
Middleweight prospect Groves kicked off his pro career in style at The O2 in November when he dominated Lithuanian import Kirill Pshonko over six rounds. Long and rangy, and a spiteful puncher when he plants his feet, Groves showed a bit of everything on November 15, whilst admitting he’s still learning the ropes.
“It was good to get the six rounds out of the way and I felt I handled the distance really well,” admits Groves. “I didn’t feel tired at all, and felt like I could do another six on top of that.
“The guy I was boxing was very tough, very cagey and knew how to mess me about for six rounds. I’m going to have to learn how to break down those types of opponents as I move along. It will definitely be all six-rounders from this point on, though.”
Also present on November 15 was Peterborough prodigy Maguire, a former European Union gold medallist and fellow undefeated pro. Currently 2-0 (1) in the pro game, bantamweight Maguire scored his first professional knockout in November as he crippled Bulgarian Iordan Vasilev with a single body shot in the opening round.
“I was ready for another four-rounder and managed to line him up and finish it with a sweet body shot,” says the 19-year-old Maguire. “It was good to finish the fight early, especially as the guy I was boxing turned up in good shape and was ready to give me a proper fight. It was a surprise to get him out of there that quickly.”
Winner of eight national amateur titles, as well as a European Junior gold medal, Maguire also has fond memories of Bethnal Green’s York Hall.
“I beat one of the top Americans (David Clark) at the York Hall last November in a GB vs. USA amateur show,” adds Michael. “I stopped him in the second round and a lot of people were saying it was the performance of the night. All my fans packed the place out and it was a really good show. I’m hoping for more of the same on February 1st.”
For more information on "Hayemaker 4" and other upcoming Hayemaker shows, please visit the official website at www.hayemaker.com.