Twenty-four hours after being declared Britain's Boxer of the Year, Carl Froch topped the poll again in his home town of Nottingham last night with a stunning first defence of his IBF super-middleweight title, despatching Yusaf Mack in three rounds in a result as predictable as is was clinically executed.
The 35-year-old "Cobra" seems to get better with age and he struck early, flooring Mack – a father of nine from Philadelphia – in the first round. The second saw the American's gumshield spinning out of the ring and after 2min 30sec of the third he was left doubled up on the floor in pain from a rib-cracking body shot and another left hook to the head. He was counted out on his knees, forehead touching the floor.
Froch, a three-times world champion, thus completed a run of nine consecutive world title fights and seeks a rematch with either of his only two conquerors, the Dane Mikkel Kessler or the unbeaten American Andre Ward, a world and Olympic champion.
Mack, a boiled-down light-heavyweight, was given little hope with Froch the overwhelming favourite. "Yusaf Mack didn't have much chance tonight," said Froch. "When I am on fire like that I am unbeatable."
According to Chris Eubank, Froch needs "a little finesse". But last night, what he did have was a devastating finish.
Tony Bellew, the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion from Liverpool, survived a deeply gashed right eyebrow early on to put himself in pole position for a WBC world title fight with a comprehensive points defeat of Roberto Bolonti in a 12-round eliminator.
Bellew boxed sensibly, twice flooring the Argentinian to pound out a deserved victory aided by some adroit corner work by cuts man Mick Williamson, who patched up a wound which might have ended the bout disastrously.