News: Haye/Barrett Undercard; Robert Luna Jr

Hammersmith’s ‘The Saint’ George Groves will discard his vest and head guard on November 15 at The O2 in North Greenwich when he makes his eagerly anticipated professional debut. Forming part of the undercard to David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye’s heavyweight showdown with Monte ‘Two Gunz’ Barrett, Groves is simply itching to get started. The former two-time Senior ABA middleweight champion has waited a long time for this moment..

“I’ve needed this challenge,” admits the 20-year-old Groves. “I achieved a lot of good things in the amateurs but it was always my intention to eventually turn pro. I was going a bit stale in the amateurs and now just seems like the right time to make the move.

“I have no doubt the pro game will suit me even better than the amateurs did. Everyone wants to get to and stay at the top in amateur boxing and they develop a style to do so. It’s more like fencing than boxing nowadays. Some boxers are great at it but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll become great pros.

“Pro boxing is more about show business. It’s more of an event. There is inside fighting, body shots and knockouts, that sort of stuff. I can’t wait to get started.”

With a junior European Union gold medal to his name, as well as nine gold medals for England, there’s little doubt Groves’ pro bow will be greeted with equal doses of expectancy and pressure. It’s something that fails to bother this level-headed Londoner.

“Pressure never gets to me,” adds the former Dale Youth ABC box-fighter. “Nobody puts more pressure on me than myself. Nerves are a good thing. I’m usually nervous about not being a nervous. My best ever performances have come when I’ve been the most nervous. I’m going to be so excited on my debut - I won’t be able to sit still.”

Groves’ handling of pressure also owes a great deal to his past experience in a different sort of combat.

“I think I’ll cope better than most other newcomers because of my time in kickboxing,” explains the former child prodigy. “As a kickboxer I was always competing on a pro stage – the bright lights, the smoky rooms, the music, the fans. I was kickboxing with my shirt off at nine years of age so that won’t worry me. I was a lot chubbier back then, too - but you’re not as self-conscious as a kid, are you? So long as I work up a little bit of a six-pack before my pro debut I’ll be just fine.”

Despite a love of both boxing and kickboxing – often leading George to compete in both on the same weekend - Groves chose boxing at 13 years of age. Some 75 amateur bouts later, Groves now realises it was a wise decision to drop the kicking aspect.

Yet, ultimately, it was Groves’ inability to win a place on the 2008 Olympic squad that turned his attention towards the pro game. Despite holding a previous win over eventual gold medallist James Degale, Groves spent the summer in London watching his club-mate climb the podium in Beijing.

“That was really frustrating for me,” admits Groves. “I beat the guy who went on to get gold and I’m sure I could have done the same. I know I would have won that gold medal if they had put me on the plane. In the end, though, James got there first and he did what he had to do.”

Now enjoying the acclaim that goes with Olympic success, Degale is one man ‘The Saint’ will be keeping a keen eye on throughout his pro career. Groves sees a showdown with Degale as a major domestic happening in a couple of years.

“I’d box Degale on my pro debut,” states Groves. “I’ve beaten him once and I’d do it again. I don’t hold any fear of Degale or anyone. I out pointed James in the amateurs and I’ll knock him out in the pros.”

Robert "NIGHTHAWK" Luna Jr.: Makes Impressive Cestus Debut!

On November 8, 2008 , Cestus Management’s 140-pound destroyer, Robert "NIGHTHAWK" Luna Jr. made his professional debut on the under card of the Class Act promotional event held in Round Rock, Texas . Luna Jr. who is from San Antonio Texas, gave the local fans present a true display of power and technical boxing as the ex-United States Armed Forces solider that honorably represented his Country in Iraq and Afghanistan , had his first win by completely outclassing and schooling fellow Texas Jessie Villareal. Winning a clear decision over four rounds. The "NIGHTHAWK" hammered the game Villarel four four rounds, with Villareal surviving some very hectic moments from Luna's non-stop onsloughts and absorbing major punishment throughout the fight.

Luna Jr started hard and fast shooting stiff jabs that where knocking Villarreal's head back. Robert used smooth, crisp combinations and big booming right hand shots that caught Villarreal flush. To his credit Villarreal, a veteran of ten fights, hung in there but absorbed major punishment and was just simply outclassed by the " NIGHTHAWK’s” speed, power and superb combination punching. Luna Jr. showed some great moves during the fight and looks like he has the potential to be a prospect that everyone will be hearing about in the not to distant future.

Right after the fight Robert Jr. said, “I’m so excited now that i have my first win and my professional boxing career is underway. Now I look forward to my next fight on December 5, (2008) in Laredo , Texas . I new i would win. I was very nervous before the fight because i wanted to win so bad. I am now, 1 and 0 and its an undiscribable feeling; i am finaly a professional fighter. I want to get back in the Gym on Monday and start training for my next fight, because i know their is a lot of work to be done; my manager Cestus has great expectations from me and i must deliver, i wont let them down. Luna added, “I would also like to thank Anthony Velásquez of Gente Entertainment for his continued support.”

Gina Iacovou, who is Cestus Management's CEO, said, “We (Cestus) are excited now that Robert’s career is underway and he has his first win. His natural talent, power and all action style will make him a fighter who is in high demand. Cestus will use all our resources in the sport of boxing to ensure that Luna Jr. fulfills his immense fighting potential.”

Mike Michael, who is Cestus Management’s founder, said, “I told you to LOCK THE DOORS AND RUN FOR COVER as tonight, Robert Luna Jr. showed everyone that we (Cestus) know natural talent and skill when we see it. Robert Jr. is talent with true power and potential that is untaped.” Michael added, “I would just like to send a personal thank you to my good friend Anthony Velásquez of Gente Entertainment for his continued support. To the fight fans make sure you stay tuned as Cestus fighters Robert Luna Jr., James “QUICK DRAW” DuBois and Rodolfo “BABY COBRA” Gomez will all be in action at the Civic Center December 5, 2008 in Laredo , Texas. ”

Cestus Management works with fighters of distinction from across the world. For further information, on the company its fighters, media or otherwise, log onto

Article posted on 09.11.2008

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