Carl Froch said he produced the “punch of my life” to knock out bitter rival George Groves at Wembley Stadium on this day seven years ago.
Froch emphatically retained his WBA and IBF super middleweight belts to end the debate over who would prevail after their controversial first encounter.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at that thrilling second fight.
The pair had fought in Manchester six months earlier with younger man Groves upsetting the favourite early on. Froch admitted he had taken Groves lightly after being floored in the first round and outboxed in the early stages, before triumphing courtesy of a controversial ninth-round stoppage.
Promoter Eddie Hearn, naturally perhaps, talked up the second contest as the “biggest fight in British boxing history”, but his bold statement was backed up by ticket sales as an 80,000 sell-out crowd descended on Wembley. It was the biggest British boxing attendance since 90,000 watched Len Harvey and Jock McAvoy fight for the British light heavyweight belt in London’s White City Stadium in 1939.
Reputation at stake
Froch brought a record of 32 wins and two defeats to the ring, with 23 knockouts, compared with Groves’ 19-1 (15KOs). The Nottingham fighter had won his first world title in 2008 and had nine successful world title fights to his name, as well as losses against Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward. But he knew his legacy was at stake in the domestic contest as 26-year-old Groves looked to step up a level.
It proved a generally cagier contest than the first fight with little between the two men until it erupted in the eighth round. As Groves let his guard slip for a split second, Froch unleashed the shot which saw the challenger crumple to the canvas unconscious. The champion said: “I knew it was only going to take a couple of big right hands to the chin and I timed it perfectly. It’s a 12-round sport, last time I was rushing it, I was trying to catch him with that shot in round one and ended up walking into one and it made for a spectacle. That was a tactical, stand-off fight.” Groves said: “Obviously I felt I was doing very well in the fight, I was in my groove and I was boxing well but it’s boxing. I’ve got to hold my hands up – Carl caught me with a shot but I’ll come back bigger, better and stronger.”
Froch described the winning shot as “the best punch of my life” and it proved to be his last. An elbow injury forced him to pull out of a Las Vegas swansong against Julio Cesar Chavez and he announced his retirement in July 2015. Groves suffered defeat in his third world title challenge, against Badou Jack, but patience paid off in May 2017 when he defeated Fedor Chudinov to claim the WBA title. The Londoner defended it against Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jr before suffering defeat in his last fight against Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series final.