GEORGIE GROVES got a harder time in the gym than during his third pro win last week.
The Hammersmith ABA champion made it 3-0 when he stopped late-replacement Paul Samuels with barely half-a-minute left in the first round of their super-middleweight clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
But it was the sparring sessions leading up to the bout in Cyprus against world champion Carl Froch that drew gasps of admiration from boxing's insiders.
Far from being a friendly workout, Froch let go with a barrage of blows that blackened Groves's eye.
The Hammersmith fighter was advised to give their next session a miss - but back he came - and this time showed why west London may have a champion on its hands as well.
"I got myself a better headguard," joked Groves.
"And I was a bit better prepared. You can't duck these sort of things if you want to get to the top."