IBF Order Froch To Face Groves Again

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has ordered Carl Froch to face George Groves within 90 days or face been stripped of his Super-middleweight title.

Froch and Groves were involved in one of the best and most controversial boxing bouts in Britain in recent years. Groves had out-boxed Froch for most of the fight before being controversially stopped in the 9th round in their November 23rd clash last year.

The controversy that followed that night lead to an enormous outcry from the boxing world for a re-match as fans and the Groves camp felt they were robbed of a natural decision. Groves had put Froch on the floor in the 1st round and gained momentum through the fight out-boxing,out-working and catching Froch at ease with right hands. The fight wore on at a frantic pace and both boxers began to tire. In the 9th round Froch came back off the ropes to catch Groves with a punch that visibly hurt him for the first time in the fight. Sensing he could finish Groves off, Froch poured forward trapping Groves on the ropes before referee Howard Foster called an end to the fight too early and not in the right manner.

Since then Groves has been calling for a re-match just about everyday since that stoppage. Last week he brought his claim to the IBF on the grounds of unfair judging and a premature stoppage. The IBF has recently released this statment:

On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, an IBF Appeal Panel convened to hear the appeal of George Groves regarding his November 23, 2013, bout with Carl Froch. This bout was a mandatory defense of Carl Froch’s IBF Super Middleweight title and an optional defense of his WBA Super Middleweight title.

George Groves’ appeal was based in part on Rule 12. A. 2 of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests – Inappropriate conduct by the referee which is alleged to have affected the outcome of the fight.

There were a number of reasons presented in his appeal presented as evidence of inappropriate conduct by referee Howard Foster. However, the one argument presented to the panel that they could make and educated decision on was that the referee simply misinterpreted George Groves’ evasive techniques as being an indication that Mr. Groves was in “trouble”. The panel determined that the referee gave appropriate warnings to both fighters but did not choose to deduct points. The panel felt that in the 9th round, Groves should have been allowed to continue as he did not appear to be seriously hurt and was counter punching and attempting to move the action away from the ropes at the time of the stoppage. In addition, the referee waived off the fight from behind Groves instead of in front of him and did not look into his eyes. Groves showed no signs of being hurt after the stoppage. In sum, the panel felt it was an improper stoppage.

After a review of the information presented to the panel, it has been determined that there was inappropriate conduct by the referee that affected the outcome of the fight. Based on the foregoing the IBF is ordering an immediate rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF Super Middleweight title. The Bout must take place within 90 days, or by April 24, 2014, and neither boxer can take any other fight in that time frame. The signed contracts are due within 15 days or by February 8, 2014. If the IBF doesn’t receive the contracts by February 8, 2014, we will call for a Purse Bid.

So Groves has got his wish. If Carl Froch refuses to fight he will be stripped of his title. Now this is the political part to boxing. Froch’s camp made an offer to Groves for a rematch, and Groves declined it, saying he was “waiting for a better offer”. But the IBF rules state that Groves is only entitled to 15% of the money from the bout. Promoter Eddie Hearn has quite a job to do if he is to get both men into the ring. Froch also has other options in America. He is currently in negotiations to face former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. So what does he do, lose “face” and credibility along with his title to pursue box office in the States, or have one hell of a fight night against a man he knows can put him down. More to come on this story as it develops.

Image courtesy of Press Association

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