• Carl Froch v George Groves

Froch willing to grant Groves rematch

ESPN staff
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George Groves knocked Carl Froch down int he first round © PA Photos
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Carl Froch admits he is willing to grant George Groves a rematch for his WBA and IBF super-middleweight world titles after controversially stopping him in the ninth-round of their bout in Manchester on Saturday.

Referee Howard Foster pulled Groves away in a headlock in the ninth-round, with the challenger taking heavy punishment on the ropes.

However Groves had Froch on the back foot for much of the fight in Manchester, and even knocked him down in the first round. Groves appeared bewildered and disconsolate with the decision, and the crowd showed what they thought with a heavy chorus of boos.

Froch, 36, recently batted off rumours of retirement, and in the post-fight ringside interview appeared to be game for a rematch, calling on mutual promoter Eddie Hearn to get it sorted. And in an interview with Sky Sports News on Sunday, Froch reiterated his willingness to step back in the ring with Groves.

"The rematch is something everyone wants to see. If George really, really wants the rematch which it sounds like he does, and the fans want it, then why not?" said Froch.

"We've got to speak to Eddie Hearn, he's the businessman in this, he's the man who makes these fights happen. It's not my decision to see exactly where I go. But as I've said time and time again, I will fight anybody. It's not a question of whether or not I'll fight George Groves again - of course I will. No problem at all. It's just whatever makes sense, not just for me, but for my team around me.

"I'm happy to honour the fans, honour the crowd, honour George Groves with a rematch if my promoter and my trainer both agree that it makes sense. I don't swerve or duck anybody, everybody knows that. Everyone knows what I'm about. I've done it time and time again against top world champions all over the world. If it makes sense then of course we'll get it on, but it's not my decision."

Froch also insisted he deserved more credit for his battling win after the first-round knockdown.

"I challenge any man to take that right hand off George Groves and get up off the seat of their pants, and fight the way I fought, and force a stoppage the way I forced a stoppage," added Froch. "It was very, very tough to do that, it takes a lot of guts, heart, fitness and strength, and a very strong mentality."

Also speaking to Sky Sports News on Sunday morning, Groves called on Froch to face him again after what he called and "unfair and unjust" defeat.

Seconds out, round two

Michael Clarke told Jimmy Anderson to "get ready for a f****** broken arm" © Getty Images
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"I'd love a rematch," Groves said. "Carl sat down ringside and said let's have it, but watching it back I think he said it because he was hoping for a cheer from the crowd. He probably doesn't want one. I deserve a rematch, for everything I put into the build-up to this.

"I was comfortable from the start, even when the ref jumped in. My feet were under me and I was firing big shots myself. I'm still bemused as to why in a massive world title fight with this much build-up that a ref would end the fight.

"It was an unfair and unjust decision. And if he does decide to box on then his next fight should be a rematch against me. It would be the biggest fight for him out there so there's no reason not to have it. He knows he got more than a lottery ticket last night and I've got the beating of him.

"I don't think he could prepare any better, even if he could it wouldn't be enough. The things I do are better than Carl. I beat him for hand speed, I beat him for punch power, I beat him for boxing ability. My footwork was better than his. I had him on the back foot for large parts.

"The last thing he wants is to get in the ring with me again."

Groves also lifted the lid on his split from Adam Booth, just ten weeks out from the Froch fight. The pair were caught in an emotional embrace on camera backstage at the Phones 4u Arena after the bout, despite still being involved in a legal battle. Booth recently won the right to a quarter of Groves' £500,000 purse from Saturday's fight.

"Me and Adam had a big falling out," said Groves. "It wasn't easy to walk away from. There are contractual issues there. Ultimately he was gutted for me as a friend, that I had my dreams taken away from me unjustly.

"But I also had the best training camp possible with Paddy Fitzpatrick and the other guys. I couldn't have asked for any better. There's no way I'd change what I had in the build-up to this fight for anything. I've known Adam a long time, I respect him, and would still like to be friends with him, but our working relationship is over. It was an emotional night for us all last night. It was probably the first time I've seen him in ten weeks. It was sad but we won't be working together again."

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