Like A Cold Blooded Predator, The Cobra Strikes!
At Ringside, Rhino O'Neill - DHB / Photo Lay-out By Karl Stubbs (December 3, 2005) 
Photo © Karl Stubbs 
(See Link below for 19 more Action Photos)
4000 loyal vociferous supporters expectantly gathered to see Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch (16-0) climb his next step on the ladder to hopeful global domination of the Super middleweight division.

Mick Hennessey’s former world amateur silver medalist, making his first appearance since hand surgery, was paired against the rugged South African trier Ruben Groenewald (19-4-3) for his defence of the Commonwealth Super middleweight Championship. Both fighters scaled inside the 12st limit at the first attempt.

With 7 weeks to prepare Groenewald was in top shape both physically and mentally. He had sparred with Froch verbally in the build up to the fight and the Nottingham Ice Arena offered the opportunity and the forum to put those verbal threats into physical reality. Froch too had partaken in the oral preliminaries and promised to deliver the first stoppage on the proud Springboks record.

The size difference was apparent as Froch, after slipping his robe, flexed his physique to his adoring following. Groenewald seemed unphased as Howard Foster gave his usual pre battle briefing.

The opener surprisingly saw The South African as the aggressor. Froch, as promised, was standing off and assessing the opposing artillery. Unfortunately he was not quite distant enough in his ‘standing off’ and Groenewald enjoyed sporadic early success with the right hook. The blows however had little effect on Froch’s well tested chin. Froch’s ‘hands down’ stance offered open invitation for Ruben to ‘buy his lottery ticket’ but Froch comfortably absorbed all that was delivered. It was not until the 3rd that Froch seemed to find his timing and he seemed to ‘do as he pleased’ as Groenewald rushed in repeatedly in his efforts to get ‘up close and personal’ with the ever confident Cobra.

© Karl Stubbs
Photo Gallery: 
Froch Pounds Groenewald
19 Actions shots By Karl Stubbs, karlstubbs.com
Froch, despite enjoying most success when he kept Groenewald at arms length realized that the South Africans power could not trouble him and opted to go ‘toe2toe’ to the delight of the now delirious support. Groenewald continued to play possum and to showboat, even appearing to pass pleasantries to some of Froch’s family and friends in the platinum seating during the round. The Cobra responded with a salvo of blows that saw Groenewald slump to the floor in the neutral corner, he was obviously badly shaken but the referees 8 count was quickly followed by the bell and Ruben was ushered back to his corner, his nose gently weeping claret.

The 4th saw Groenewald foolishly continue to sail his showboat, but this showboat was on rough sea and the previous rounds punishment was still in evidence and the South African looked very off balance. The challenger showed great heart and courage by continually walking forward into the storm.

I noted prior to the 5th that it was ‘only a matter of time’ and at 2.25 of that round, despite strong protests from Groenewald, Howard Foster had seen enough. The South African was trapped in the neutral corner and offered scant resistance as a barrage of Froch’s right and left crosses slammed home. The referee could easily be criticised for a premature stoppage but in reality Groenewald was on the slow road to nowhere and the result and ending were inevitable. It is after all, the referee’s duty to protect the gladiators from serious injury.

Froch moves to 17-0 and it looks likely that next up is Brian Magee in February next year.
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