Carl Froch retained his IBF/WBA Super Middleweight titles after knocking out George Groves in the eighth round at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. The bout was watched by 80 000 fans anticipating Britain’s biggest boxing bout in decades. A cagey first round saw jabs from both fighters and not much else.
The second was equally tough to call with both boxers still keeping their cards close to their chest although there was a telling moment when Froch pushed Groves to floor following a rabbit bunch. Halfway through the third “The Cobra” moved in with a combination that would have made himself known to “Saint George” for the first time in the fight. Less than a minute into the fourth, the Londonder shook the champion with an effective combination but Froch stayed strong as the round gradually resembled the first three; almost impossible to pick a winning pugilist. However, the two were moving in closer and toe-to-toe exchanges began to surface.
Unlike six months ago, Groves appeared to be holding back in an apparent strategy to conserve energy for the late rounds. The strategy appeared to backfire in the fifth round when Froch had his 26-year old opponent on the ropes and under pressure, but Groves survived and made his way into the middle of the ring. Froch had no problem with that has he landed several body shots late in the round.
“The Cobra” was looking strong in the sixth too as he forced Groves onto the ropes early on once more. At the halfway mark of the bout the champion was looking strong with “Saint George” yet to make a real move. A powerful left hand by the Londoner about 45 seconds into the seventh brought the crowd to life. General jabbing continued for the remainder of the round until there were 25 seconds left and the pair exchanged blows with a Groves uppercut the highlight.
The 26-year old showed better speed and drive in the eighth as he looked a more confident fighter. However a massive right hook sent Groves to the canvass and he could not recover despite a desperate attempt to get up. Referee Charlie Fitch did not bother counting as Groves was out cold without delivering on his promise to usurp the world belts from “The Cobra.”