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Impressive Groves demolishes Balmaceda

ESPN staff
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George Groves made short work of Dario German Balmaceda © PA Photos
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George Groves made his Matchroom debut a winning one with a third-round stoppage of Dario German Balmaceda.

It was confirmed at the start of the week that Groves had split with promoter Frank Warren to join Matchroom and Eddie Hearn's operation wasted no time in setting up a fight with Balmaceda.

Groves came into the contest with a perfect 16 wins from as many fights and there was never any danger of Balmaceda putting a blemish on that record.

After sizing his opponent up, Groves landed a sharp, stinging right-hand body shot in the second that put his opponent down.

Balmaceda rose to his feet after an eight count and saw out the round, but the minute's rest was not enough to repair the damage and Groves finished the job in the third with a brilliant right hand over the top that ended the contest.

Darren Barker put himself firmly in the hunt for a world title shot with a fine stoppage of Simone Rotolo in their Intercontinental middleweight title fight.

Rotolo was retired on his stool after the fourth due to a hand injury, but the damage had already been done by the relentless Barker.

An overhand right rocked Rotolo in the first round and a body shot put him down. Barker continued to power forward and came close to putting the Italian on hte floor in the fourth, but it made no difference as Rotolo remained on his stool as Barker took his record to 25-1.

Lee Purdy lived up to his big-hitting reputation as he put Cosme Rivera down on two occasions in the first round on the way to victory in the defence of his IBF International welterweight title.

Purdy was due to fight Carson Jones, but Rivera stepped in at short notice when Jones pulled out on account of illness. Taking on a new opponent at less than a week's notice did not faze Purdy who took the centre of the ring from the first bell and dominated his opponent.

Rivera rocked Purdy in the eighth to raise the temperature of a fight that was threatening to stagnate. Purdy came back strong towards the end of the round and he opened up a cut above Rivera's left eye. The wound would not close and the fight was stopped by the doctor in the ninth.

Danny Connor retained his Southern Area light-welterweight title with a comprehensive points win over Chris Evangelou. Connor beat Evangelou in controversial circumstances last year but there was no controversy on this occasion. Connor put Evangelou down in the seventh round with a superb left to the body and from them on it was one-way traffic.

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