DCSIMG

Carl Froch and George Groves agree rematch

George Groves and Carl Froch will reprise their grudge match. Picture: PA

George Groves and Carl Froch will reprise their grudge match. Picture: PA

  • by DUNCAN BECH
 

Several of Britain’s largest sporting arenas are under consideration to stage the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves that has finally been agreed for 31 May.

Eighty-two days after the bitter rivals fought a nine-round thriller that ended with Froch stopping his younger opponent in controversial circumstances, they have agreed to meet for a second time.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn views it as the biggest fight in British history and name-checked several major venues as possibilities to host a showdown that Froch starts as odds-on favourite.

Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium are the leading contenders for Groves’ second shot at Froch’s WBA and IBF super-middleweight showdown, and Hearn admits the bout had to happen.

“We’re in discussion with six or seven stadiums all over the country right now,” Hearn told Sky Sports News yesterday.

“They are huge stadiums because this is a huge event. We’re looking at a crowd of up to 80,000 for this fight.

“We’ve had discussions with Old Trafford, Wembley, the Emirates Stadium, the City Ground, Twickenham, Cardiff. . . It’s a special fight.

“Over the next week we’ll be closing off a deal with one of those big stadiums that we need to cater for this fight.

“I believe this will be the ­biggest fight in British boxing history and I want to see how big we can make it because it ­appeals to everybody.

“It was difficult to arrange because there were two egos to deal with, but it would be a ­travesty if it didn’t happen.

“The fact is they don’t like each other and they don’t do a very good job of hiding that.”

The nerve-jangling first encounter saw underdog Groves floor Froch in the opening round and seize a scorecard lead before referee Howard Foster intervened as the resurgent Froch fired a barrage of shots.

Although the tide appeared to have turned against Groves, Foster’s decision to step in as the 25-year-old came under ­pressure was widely condemned for being too early.

It was a spectacular fight that evoked memories of the great Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank-Michael Watson battles of the 1980s, but Froch was ­subsequently reluctant to grant the rematch.

Hearn stated at the end of last month that negotiations were proving “frustrating”, even once the IBF had stepped in to order they clash again.

Froch sought a Las Vegas showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, but public opinion demanded that he faces Groves once more.

“I’m looking forward to ­shutting George Groves up once and for all and putting him ­behind,” Froch said.

“I’ve already beaten him, I’ve already got the win, so I’m chilled and relaxed. He’s going to get another pasting. I was poor in the first fight. I didn’t give him the respect as a fighter and lacked the drive that I had against Lucian Bute and Mikkel Kessler.

“Well, now he has my ­attention but, ultimately, it’s not going to get any better for George from here.

“He threw the kitchen sink at me that night and I still found a way back in the fight to win.”

Groves was jeered as he entered the Manchester Arena last November, but left to wild applause having dominated much of the fight until Foster ended a pulsating nine rounds of action.

“I’m really, really chuffed. I didn’t think for one second that Carl Froch would take this fight,” Groves said.

“I systematically beat him from round one until round nine and, as soon as he had an inkling of beating me, the ­referee jumped in.

“He’s on a hiding to ­nothing. There’s nothing he can take from the last fight that’s a ­positive.”

 

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