SWINDON’s highly-rated super-heavyweight Luke Watkins is hopeful the ‘world class’ work he has put in with George Groves will help him take giant strides in his own career as he bids to join his sparring partner on the world stage.

Watkins, who is looking to turn professional in the near future, was a permanent sparring partner for world title hopeful Groves during the four weeks the world title hopeful spent in Swindon ahead of his fight with champion Carl Froch on November 23.

He has continued to work with Groves and trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick since their camp moved on to London in preparation for the super-middleweight contest in Manchester, and the Swindon fighter believes the work he has done with Groves will prove vital as he bids to advance his own career.

“It’s been brilliant for me and it’s unbelievable because I’ve been getting world championship level sparring and I can’t emphasise how good that is for me,” he said.

“It doesn’t get better than this because I’m working with the highest fighter in the world in his weight division and I can’t learn enough from him.

“I can’t ask for a better teacher, and he’s been great with me. Mentally I’m growing massively and I’m learning to hold my own and handle the pressure of hanging in there with George and giving him what he needs.

“Boxing is a big mental game but I am learning technique stuff too, and the only way to do that is go through all the emotions.”

While Froch is the favourite for next month’s bout Watkins has been impressed with Groves and believes he has a real chance of causing an upset.

“He’s been doing some great sparring and he’s looking razor sharp, and with five weeks to go he’s well on track,” he said.

“He wouldn’t have taken the fight if he didn’t think he had a chance, and if you believe in it enough anyone can do it.”

  • Fitzpatrick’s boxer Bronnie Duff made her amateur debut at the weekend in the women’s ABA championships.

She was up against a more experienced opponent and despite doing well bowed out of the competition at the first stage.

Coach Paddy Fitzpatrick has been impressed with her dedication to the sport so far, saying: “Bronnie has dedicated every spare minute she has to her training and will settle in more now her debut is behind her.

“I’m looking forward to watching her progress and hope to get her out again very soon.”

Meanwhile Garvey Kelly and Lewis Roberts fight at Walcot’s show on Friday night while CJ Singh is back in action on Saturday.