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Groves, Murray fight each other to land yet another title shot

George Groves, left, and Martin Murray will meet in a super middleweight eliminator Saturday night. Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Super middleweights George Groves and Martin Murray have fought for world titles a combined seven times, and seven times they have failed. But one of them will get another opportunity.

They are both seemingly as hungry as ever to land another shot to win a coveted world title, but in order to get one they have to go through each other.

They meet in a title elimination contest for the right to become a mandatory challenger to titleholder Giovanni De Carolis on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Dominic Breazeale heavyweight title fight on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.

"A win against Murray on the biggest stage will open a lot of doors and bring me a step closer to achieving my goal of becoming world champion. I'm fully expecting it to be a war. I can't wait." George Groves

Groves has fought three times for a super middleweight world title and has come up short each time. He got knocked out twice by Carl Froch (controversially the first time) and last year lost a split decision to Badou Jack. Murray, Groves' British countryman, has had four world title opportunities but hasn't been able to take a belt home. He drew with Felix Sturm in a middleweight world title fight and lost a tight decision to Sergio Martinez in another. Murray got knocked out by Gennady Golovkin in yet another and, last year, lost split decision to Arthur Abraham in a super middleweight world title bout.

"This is a fight I've wanted for a while," said Murray, who rebounded from the loss to Abraham with a second-round knockout win against journeyman Cedric Spera on May 7. "I've had some huge profile fights all over the world in Golovkin, Martinez and Abraham, but never had the big one in the U.K. This is a fight that British fight fans can really get their teeth into, and I'm looking forward to getting the win and moving on to challenging for the world title later in the year."

Groves has won two fights in a row since his loss to Jack, which took place in Las Vegas on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto undercard.

"Martin is the perfect fight for me at this stage," Groves said. "He's a seasoned campaigner who's boxed at the highest level for quite some time. He is a world-level opponent and I'll have to be fully focused and prepared to beat him.

"A win against Murray on the biggest stage will open a lot of doors and bring me a step closer to achieving my goal of becoming world champion. I'm fully expecting it to be a war. I can't wait."

Murray believes his stamina and work rate will prove to be the difference against Groves. Murray lasted into the 11th round with Golovkin in February 2015, the only time Golovkin has ever been pushed that deep into a fight. "I train for fights to go all the way and take my opponents into deep waters," Murray said. "I've shown that I have got a good engine and can sustain a good work rate over 12 rounds. George has stamina issues. That's well-known. The fight favors me late on with him fading and my high work rate over 12 rounds, but it favors him early with his power, and I know that, and it makes for an exciting fight.

"I have one of the best defenses in world boxing. I've been in with better fighters than George. I am that confident in this fight that the only way he can beat me is if I lose concentration and get caught with something stupid early." Martin Murray

"I have one of the best defenses in world boxing. I've been in with better fighters than George. I am that confident in this fight that the only way he can beat me is if I lose concentration and get caught with something stupid early."

Murray, 33, pointed to the fact that Groves was knocked out twice by Froch, in the ninth round in 2013 and the eighth round in the immediate rematch in 2014.

"He was clinically beaten by Carl Froch and those defeats took a lot out of him," Murray said. "He hasn't had a fight that hard since, and on [Saturday] he's going to be in a real fight. When it gets hard for him, psychologically it's going to be tough. I will break him and he will crumble. He got his name by losing twice to Carl Froch and that's how he's the A-side. If I'm not established enough as a world-class fighter as it stands now, I'm going to get it when I beat George, even though I've been in bigger and tougher fights than him -- that's the way it is. He thinks that the 80,000 tickets at Wembley [where Groves faced Froch in the rematch] were down to him, nothing to do with Carl."

Groves, 28, brushed off Murray's comments and downplayed his resume. Groves said Murray was a hand-picked opponent in his four world title fights, brought in to provide a good name, but intended to lose.

"I think if he loses he will think about packing it in," Groves said. "I can't speak for Martin, but he's older than me and he's exhausted all the natural things that a fighter can do to win a world title. He didn't pull it off at middleweight. He's moved up to super middleweight and he's had a crack at Arthur Abraham, and I think he let himself down there.

"Martin is the chosen opponent in world title fights. He gets picked as an opponent that looks good on paper but gets beat. I've never been that guy. I'm the A-side of this fight, but I also believe that he wanted this fight, and I wanted this fight. Martin called it a 50-50 fight, then backtracked and said it wasn't. I can understand why people might think that, but I believe that I'm the heavy favorite in this one and you'll see why on fight night."