- George Groves v Noe Gonzalez Alcoba
Groves makes big statement with knockout win
George Groves took another significant step towards a world title shot in the crowded super-middleweight division with a fifth-round knockout of the dangerous Noe Gonzalez on Saturday.
Following Tony Bellew's narrow victory over Isaac Chilemba earlier in the night, Groves delivered another popular home victory for the noisy O2 Arena crowd with a stunning right-hand finish.
Perhaps aided by sparring with Mikkel Kessler prior to the contest, Groves put on a masterclass to quickly dispatch the respected Gonzalez, who entered the contest with just two defeats in 32 professional fights.
The final punch was a flush overhand right, a worthy blow to win any contest.
"It was something we've been working on in the gym," Groves said afterwards. "I was looking to speed up my right hand because when it lands it always causes problems.
"I saw Gonzalez open and thought this was my opportunity ... and it must have landed right on the button."
Gonzalez entered the contest with decent pedigree, with his only defeat in his last 17 fights coming against Adonis Stevenson - who is due to fight Chad Dawson for the WBC title next month.
The Uruguayan made the first move of the contest - appearing to stun Groves with one of his first punches - but the Englishman quickly shrugged that off to take control of matters.
In the second, the Hammersmith-born fighter rocked his opponent with a strong right-hand - before his left took centre stage in the third, landing flush with more than one strike as Gonzalez appeared to be struggling to cope with the power of his unrelenting opponent.
Body shots seemed to be paying off for Groves as he dominated matters, moving his opponent around the ring before seemingly picking him off at will. Gonzalez was struggling to evade a pinpoint jab, failing to offer any sort of retort as Groves returned to his corner more than once without taking any damage.
It was not obvious that the finish was coming, but when it did it was suitably devastating. With 51 seconds gone in the fifth round Gonzalez opened his shoulders slightly - and that was the only invitation Groves needed, as a downward right-hand drove through the South American's jaw, sending him to the canvas.
Getting to his feet on the five-count, the referee quickly decided Gonzalez was in no state to continue.
"Today I came out and controlled him from the start," Groves concluded. "I traded a little bit recklessly when I didn't need to ... but the shots were landing hard.
"It was about wearing him down. I knew he wasn't going to be able to cope with them."
Groves quickly targetted a world title shot in the aftermath - hinting that he would welcome a meeting with either of the night's main event fighters, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler.