ST HELENS fighter Martin Murray admitted the better man won after being comprehensively beaten by George Groves at London’s O2.

Groves earned a unanimous decision with all three scorecards giving the Londoner the fight 118-110 – and he will now get another crack at the WBA super-middleweight title.

Despite being rocked and hurt several times by the right hand of Groves, Murray showed resilience and determination to battle on – and continued in that vein afterwards when he vowed that he was “not ready to retire.”

Murray got off to something of a cagey, defensive start against the Hammersmith man – and that allowed Groves to get on the front foot early on and then grow in confidence.

Groves was the busier of the two fighters early on, throwing more in the opening three rounds but those were largely blocked by the high guard of Murray.

Fingerpost's finest, maybe wary of the devastating punching power of the 28-year-old or mindful of him apparently lacking an engine beyond six rounds, seemed content to simply measure up his opponent.

But in round four Murray found his range, forcing his opponent into the corner, catching him with a powerful uppercut as he began to do some good work at close quarters.

Groves looked in trouble as he ended the round with a cut, with Murray returning to his stool clearly looking the stronger of the two.

But it was only temporary change in the balance of the fight and Groves came back off his stool rejuvenated, connecting with sharp right hand in the fifth round.

Although Murray began making Groves work harder in round six, sensing that all bar one of the early rounds had gone to his opponent, he was also on the receiving end of a flurry of punches.

It got worse with Groves’ fearsome uppercut making Murray’s legs wobble in the closing seconds of the seventh round.

It was very much a case of being saved by the bell, but it seemed a matter of time before Groves would finish it off with Murray, for probably the first time in his career, looking like a man with the wind knocked out of his sails.

But credit to Murray, he found a way to hang in there even when Groves resumed his onslaught in the eighth.

Murray had a much better ninth round, as he went for it realising that the cards would be heavily marked against him, but it was marred when another Groves right hand again wobbled him and he was again saved by the bell.

But Murray’s indefatigable spirit shone through in the tenth. Here was a fighter not prepared to die wondering as he launched into Groves with a flurry of punches as he backed him into the ropes.

It became apparent that Murray had invested so much energy into those latter rounds, and it also become equally obvious that Groves was still a quality fighter.

With the Londoner finishing the stronger in the final round it became obvious that the knockout blow that was now needed was not going to come from the gloves of Murray.

Although the pair traded punches, leaving nothing behind approaching the final bell, it was Groves who landed the more telling blows.

In the end Murray knew, that unlike those tough losses against Martinez and Abraham, this one was a fair call.

At 33 Murray will go away contemplating the next step, but after experiencing his first high-profile domestic bout he seemed adamant that this was not the end.