Froch, with a text book straight right hand closes his chapter on George Groves at Wembley - Ringside Report
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Froch, with a text book straight right hand closes his chapter on George Groves at Wembley - Ringside Report
By Iain Dolan at ringside for Doghouse Boxing (June 1, 2014)

A view from Froch-Groves at infront of of 80,000 fans at Wembley
A view from Froch-Groves at infront of of 80,000 fans at Wembley.
Photo © Iain Dolan, Doghouse Boxing Inc.
Nottingham’s Carl Froch ended months of speculation, discussion and bickering with a text book straight right hand to knock out Hammersmith’s George Groves in front of 80,000 noisy fans at Wembley.

The ring walks were accompanied by fireworks, flames and, for some reason, a crescendo of booing for both fighters (I suppose boos are louder than cheers). Groves arrived in a Double Decker London bus with Froch taking a less flamboyant approach. With the legendary Michael Buffer making the announcements, the crowd was at fever pitch by the time the first bell rang for this eagerly anticipated rematch.

The first two rounds were very cagey affairs with few punches thrown. I think Groves (11st 12lbs 4oz) shaded them due to an occasional jab landing. Froch (11st 13lbs 9oz) showed a bit more intent going into the third and scored with a good left hook but George answered with the right hand he used so successfully in the first fight.

Carl worked behind the jab in the fourth round. He didn’t land it very often but it was enough to break up George’s rhythm and prevent him from putting any combinations together. Both landed shots but in singles with no follow up. Froch worked downstairs too but Groves connected more frequently. In the fifth, Froch landed a good right hook then pinned George in the corner with a body attack but George spun away before sustaining serious damage.

Carl started trying to close the range going into the 6th, scoring with flurries and then retreating. George was still landing with greater frequency but pot-shotting and Carl’s work was more eye catching, drawing roars from the crowd. The pattern continued into the seventh and although Groves was still connecting more often, you wondered if the fight was starting to drift away from him, knowing that the championship rounds would likely favour Froch. Groves then landed a big left hand sending Carl back a few steps but didn’t capitalise on it and the nip and tuck continued until the pair exchanged toe to toe for a few seconds towards the end of the round. Groves had the better of the exchange, thanks to his superior speed.

Froch pressed forward in the eighth with Groves still picking him off at range with single shots and then Carl detonated the right hand bomb on George’s jaw to score a spectacular KO victory. There may be some grumbling about the scorecards for a  while (Froch was in front with the judges) but it was important for such a huge event that there was a decisive and conclusive result and Froch’s right hand ensured that we got just that. The massive crowd got their money’s worth and Eddie Hearn can chalk up a big win for Matchroom and for the sport in general. So often boxing shoots itself in the foot on the big occasions but this was a successful event with a fair outcome to the main fight. Happy Days.

Earlier in the evening, former Groves victim and Olympic gold medallist James DeGale turned in an impressive performance halting American Brandon Gonzales in four rounds and earn a mandatory challenger’s spot for the winner of the main event. James boxed well at range and Gonzales only enjoyed any success when he could get inside and tie DeGale up. A cracking right uppercut, left hook combo from Harlesden’s DeGale put Brandon on the seat of his trunks in the fourth. Gonzales beat the count but another big left hook from De Gale staggered him again and that was enough for the referee to step in and call a halt. A bit of an early stoppage for such an important fight and only a few seconds to the end of the round but fighter safety has to come first.

Dagenham’s Kevin Mitchell endured a torrid evening at the hands of Canada’s Ghislain Maduma. Mitchell was beaten to the punch repeatedly in the early rounds and just not busy enough until stepping up the pace a bit in the eighth and ninth landing two good left hooks. Maduma wrested back the initiative in the 10th with a right hand and it looked as though Mitchell could have been looking at his third loss until he got through with a left hook which stiffened the Canadian in the 11th round. Mitchell, sensing that his man was running out of steam, poured it on. Maduma was given a standing eight count after he staggered into the ropes and then Kevin floored Maduma with another big left hook. Maduma was up at three but on very shaky legs and failed to convince the referee that he was OK to carry on. Not a great Mitchell performance by any stretch, but he showed a big heart and found an excellent finish against a fit and ambitious opponent. 

Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell also claimed a stoppage win, halting Thailand’s Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat in the tenth round and Superheavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua recorded another first round KO against Matt Legg.

It was a fantastic night to be at Wembley, a cracking atmosphere, competitive fights and most importantly, a clean and decisive ending to the main event.


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