George ‘The Saint’ Groves produced a commanding performance as he dominated Martin Murray on his way to a unanimous points decision victory at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night.
The Saint was in fine form as he bossed proceedings and hurt Murray on a number of occasions to register three scores of 118-110 in an eliminator for the WBA super-middleweight title.
In a cagey opening, it was Groves who started the fight on the front foot, testing Murray's high defensive guard with a string of range finding punches.
As Murray marched forward, Groves found the target, and landed a big right hand in the fifth round, while Murray briefly turned his back in the sixth and was punished by a flurry of punches.
Worse was to follow for Murray as a jolting uppercut left him on unsteady legs in the closing seconds of the seventh round.
Groves resumed his attack in the eighth, lashing in a left hook, and the bell again seemed to spare Murray when a right hand staggered him again in the ninth.
Faced with defeat, Murray would stage a desperate assault in the 10th, but Groves answered any concerns about his stamina and hurt Murray once more in the final round as he finished strongly to register a convincing win.
"I think I performed great, but I got caught with punches," Groves told Sky Sports.
"Martin Murray is a class act and should be a world champion.
"It was make or break, but I had him out on his feet. That was my first step up since losing to Badou Jack. I did well but hats off to Murray. What a performer."
The full fight as George Groves takes a unanimous decision against Martin Murray at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Ratings - World: 5/1,153
Ratings - British: 3/45
Residence: London, UK
Won: 24 (KO18)
Rounds Boxed: 164