George Groves suffered a third failure in his quest to secure a world title with defeat to Badou Jack on 12 September. Fighting on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather v Andre Berto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 27-year-old was beaten via a split decision as three judges scored the bout 116-111, 115-112 and 113-114.
Having suffered consecutive losses to domestic rival and then WBA and IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch, Groves battled back into contention for a shot at the WBC crown following wins over Christopher Rebrasse and Denis Douglin in 2014. He got off to the worst possible start against his American opponent, however, dropping to the canvas in round one following a crisp right-hand.
To his credit, the popular Briton, whose considerable travelling support had drowned out Mayweather's stablemate Jack at the weigh-in earlier this week, battled back admirably in a fairly even contest and thought he had done more than enough to have his arm raised. It was not to be, though, and after the fight he bemoaned the decision not to award him what would have been the most significant win of his career to date.
"I thought I won the fight decisively," Groves, who will no longer be able to entertain any ideas of a potentially lucrative unification bout against James DeGale, said as reported by Sky Sports. "Losing a world title fight is the worst feeling in the world."
While there was more misery for Groves on Saturday night, fellow Briton Anthony Joshua continued his devastating run of victories and took the vacant Commonwealth title with a comprehensive stoppage of Gary Cornish. The Olympic gold medalist was expected to face the toughest test of his burgeoning professional career at London's O2 Arena, but was largely untroubled once again as he wrapped up another quick night of work inside 90 just seconds.
Not merely content to sit back and soak up repeated blows, Cornish, who boasted both a height and weight advantage coming into the contest, attempted to land a few shots of his own but was knocked down shortly after the opening bell courtesy of a hard right hook. To his credit, he got back to his feet but ultimately proved unable to cope with Joshua's fearsome power and was soon dropped for a second time courtesy of another big right.
Once again the Scotland native looked to beat the count and continue, but by this stage it had become clear he was in no fit state to continue and referee Victor Loughlin rightly stepped in to end proceedings before the duo had returned to their respective corners.
After recording his 14th straight knockout win, Joshua said: "There's no extra time. Credit to Gary where credit is due. He's a big man and had a solid jab. It's a 12-round fight and I wasn't trying to dish it all out in round one, but I managed to find shots to get the job done.
"I was trying to slip his long solid jabs and counter him and he went tumbling down. If I leave it and start taking my time, then it could be me on the end of those shots in five rounds time. This is what you do it for. When I'm locked away, I lead a simple life in the gym, playing PlayStation and riding my motorbikes. Then I get to come out and give a display."
Joshua spent much of the pre-fight build-up answering taunts from Dillian Whyte, who secured a third-round knockout of Brian Minto on the undercard. The two men already had a prospective meeting pencilled in for the end of the year, and after the main event promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed they would indeed come face-to-face for the British and Commonwealth belts on a bill entitled 'Bad Intentions' to be held at the same venue on 12 December.