Few men know British super-middleweight rivals George Groves and Chris Eubank Jnr as well as Adam Booth.
The former trainer of David Haye and one of Britain’s sharpest boxing brains, Booth has spent time in both fighters’ camps during their journey to Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series showdown in Manchester.
During a six-year spell in the Saint’s corner, Booth coached Groves to British and Commonwealth titles. He also guided Jnr to victories over Tony Jeter and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in 2015.
Adam Booth spent six years as head trainer to WBA super-middleweight king George Groves
The former coach of David Haye has also spent time working the corner of Chris Eubank Jnr
Booth’s working relationship with the two fighters has now ended. But in the build-up to this weekend’s world title fight, both Groves and Eubank have cited previous sparring sessions as evidence of their ring superiority.
The details of the rounds they shared have stayed behind closed doors. Until now. Booth, who ‘guestimates’ the two fighters sparred on around 30 separate occasions, has now broken his silence on what went on and who had the upper hand.
He told Boxing News: ‘I don’t think either of them ever had better spars in terms of the work they got in. They knew that if they made a mistake they would pay for it.
Groves and Eubank Jnr collide in a World Boxing Super Series semi-final on Saturday night
The WBA super-middleweight champion now works under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan
‘There’s only one occasion I can recall when one of them was slightly hurt. That was, ironically, when George caught Junior with a left hook and Junior appeared to be stunned. There was definitely something that happened in that spar because of that left hook. That was probably one of the last spars they had.’
Eubank announced himself in the super-middleweight division with a stunning KO victory over Avni Yildirim in the quarter-final. And despite being the challenger to Groves’ WBA strap, the 28-year-old heads into Saturday’s clash the slight bookies favourite.
It is a world away from when they first met at Haye’s Vauxhall gym, when an amateur Junior was brought in to help the burgeoning professional career of Groves.
Eubank Jnr takes part in a public workout ahead of the Manchester Arena clash on Saturday
‘He has always impressed me with his ability… and his single-minded nastiness,’ Booth said
‘I didn’t like him necessarily but I admired him. I admired the fact he was prepared to do what he had to do and never spoke or complained,’ Booth said.
‘On one occasion he did six rounds with George and then six rounds with Nathan Cleverly. He controlled pretty much every round. And that was a long, long time ago. He probably only had a few pro fights to his name.
‘He has always impressed me with his ability, his energy and his single-minded nastiness. And, let’s face it, that’s what you sometimes need in order to be a good fighter. You need to be self-absorbed, narcissistic and arrogant.’