Boxing: Carl Froch retains WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles after referee ends fight with George Groves

Froch was floored by a flinging right hand in the opening moments

Carl Froch clambered up from a shocking first-round knockdown to retain his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles with a controversial ninth-round stoppage of George Groves in Manchester.

Froch was floored by a flinging right hand in the opening moments but clawed his way back into the bout and won a spectacular duel when referee Howard Foster jumped in to end the contest in the ninth.

Foster's intervention with Groves still on his feet sparked uproar, with both corner teams briefly squaring off in the ring while a crowd which had started off resolutely pro-Froch roundly cheered the challenger.

Questions were inevitably raised about the eagerness of Foster to end the fight which had rocked and rolled from one fighter to the other and produced some of the finest action seen in a British ring for some time.

Froch was staggered on his feet in a sensational sixth before retaliating with big shots of his own, and the ending when it came seemed premature but in Foster's favour Groves did appear to be offering little resistance.

Froch may have mocked Groves' credentials for sharing the same ring during the acrimonious big-fight build-up and appeared to believe he was due an easy and enjoyable night - but it proved anything but.

Despite Groves heading into the ring with an unbeaten 19-fight record, he had showed few signs of what was to come with arguably his best wins coming over his ex-amateur rival James DeGale and ageing Jamaican Glen Johnson at the end of last year.

But Groves had appeared unfazed by Froch's claims, even during a distinctly unusual build-up to the fight which saw him split with career-long trainer Adam Booth and instead put his faith in his former bag man Paddy Fitzpatrick.

Groves had revealed intricate details of how he planned to take the fight to Froch but it was clear from the outset he would also be up against the vast majority of the 20,000-capacity crowd who booed him to the ring.

Amazingly, Groves did almost exactly as he had promised, coming out crouched behind his jab and finding some early success.

The challenger took control of the centre of the ring and landed enough to redden the champion's nose in the early exchanges, and it became abundantly clear Froch was not going to have it all his own way.

What followed stunned the capacity crowd as Groves rammed home a right hand which floored Froch for only the second time in his career, before two more rights on the bell emphatically gave the challenger the first round.

Froch looked more settled at the start of the second but again appeared jolted by a pinpoint left hand from Groves before responding with his best shots of the bout so far, a pair of rights to the body which briefly stopped his opponent in his tracks.

Groves was making a mockery of many pre-fight predictions as he waded out for the third, connecting with two more sharp jabs and a cuffing left hook before the champion responded by landing a left and drawing the challenger in the kind of rugged exchange he preferred.

Groves withstood the assault and showed no signs of fading early in the fourth, once again taking to the front foot and stalking the champion, who showed the first signs of frustration when he was warned by referee Howard Foster for hitting on the break.

Froch edged a tighter fifth but waded right back into trouble in a furious sixth in which Groves clattered home swinging shots with both hands and almost had Froch out on his feet - yet a sensational round ended with Froch flinging back bombs and coming close to a knockdown himself.

After an inevitably quieter seventh, Froch started the eighth with two right hands and a serious warning from referee Foster for illegal use of his forearm, and another thrilling exchange once again brought the crowd to its feet.

The action came to a clattering and sudden end in the ninth when after a close-quarters exchange Groves appeared to turn his back and drop his hands, and as Froch poured in unanswered punches referee Foster quickly jumped in to end the contest.

Boos rang down from the capacity crowd when the verdict was announced, sealing a remarkable turnaround for brave Groves who exited to a hero's ovation.

Earlier, Scott Quigg made an explosive second defence of his WBA super-bantamweight title with a second-round stoppage over Argentina's Diego Silva.

The Bury 25-year-old decked his opponent twice with a vicious right hand leaving Silva flat on his back on the canvas and requiring medical attention.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own