Carl Froch has opted to vacate his IBF super-middleweight crown - leaving the door open for compatriot James DeGale to fight for the title in the coming months.
DeGale became the mandatory challenger for the IBF strap when he defeated Brandon Gonzales on the undercard of the Froch-Groves re-match at Wembley Stadium.
But Froch, whose last bout was his memorable knockout of Groves last May, had been chasing a lucrative showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas on March 28 until an elbow injury scuppered his hopes.
He still hopes to land a mega showdown against former middleweight champion Chavez in the boxing capital this summer but admitted he could not stand in the way of DeGale getting his world title chance.
"It's been a frustrating couple of weeks with terms agreed for the Chavez fight only for me to be unable to proceed in camp due to injury," said Froch.
"I know what it's like to wait for a shot and I didn't want to hold James up in fighting for a world title.
"James is a great fighter and I hope he can go out and win that title and who knows, we may even meet later in the year."
Froch - who still holds the WBA's 'regular' world title, with American boxer Andre Ward the governing body's 'super' champion - could also fight veteran superstar Bernard Hopkins this year.
Promoter Eddie Hearn suggested the former two-weight world champion could travel to Froch's home town of Nottingham for the bout.
"Talks continue with the Chavez camp regarding a summer clash in Las Vegas, and discussions have taken place with Golden Boy Promotions regarding a bumper clash in Nottingham with two-weight world champion legend Bernard Hopkins in the summer," said Hearn.
DeGale is in negotiations to fight American Andre Dirrell for Froch's newly-vacated title, with promoter Eddie Hearn expecting the bout to take place on April 25 at London's O2 Arena.
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