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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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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