• Super Middleweight

Froch-Groves rematch set for May 31

ESPN staff
February 12, 2014
The original fight between Carl Froch and George Groves was ended in the ninth by referee Howard Foster © PA Photos

The highly-anticipated rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves has been confirmed by both parties and will take place on May 31 at an as-yet unnamed football stadium.

Froch-Groves II is expected to smash box office records for a British fight and is likely to be the biggest rematch in British boxing since Chris Eubank took on Nigel Benn at Old Trafford in 1993.

The record attendance for a post-War fight was Ricky Hatton's bout with Luan Lazcano, when 55,000 fans packed into the City of Manchester Stadium in 2008.

Groves loses appeal to BBBoC

  • George Groves has lost his appeal to get the result of his first bout to Carl Froch changed to a 'no contest' by the British Board of Boxing Control, meaning he will go into the May 31 rematch with a defeat still on his professional record.
  • BBBoC general secretary Robert Smith announced the body fully supported referee Howard Foster's decision to stop the original fight in the ninth round.
  • "We have noted that the IBF granted George the rematch but regard the outcome of the first fight as a matter of opinion," Smith said. "Howard Foster is a world-class referee. In our view his decision to stop the fight was made in the best interests of George Groves. The result stands."

Speaking to Sky Sports News, promoter Eddie Hearn said: "We are in discussions with about six or seven football stadiums in the country - including Old Trafford, Wembley, the Emirates, Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and the City Ground.

"This is a huge event and what I believe is the biggest fight in British boxing history. We are looking at crowds of up to 80,000 for this fight and it's a dream to make it happen and over the next week we will be looking to close off a deal with one of those big venues.

"It's a special fight and it's not often you get to take them outside - but I want to see how big we can make it, because this is a fight that appeals to everybody. Since the first fight, not one day has passed where someone hasn't stopped me on the street to ask when the rematch is happening.

"You have to give credit to both men, because it takes two to tango and many people thought Carl Froch wouldn't take this fight but there was never any doubt in my mind. When the IBF ordered the rematch, Froch was never going to vacate the belt - it's not something that he does. He has honoured the decision and he will fight George Groves and the British boxing public should be very happy."

Top 10 stadium fights

Lennox Lewis beat Frank Bruno outdoors in 1993 © PA Photos
  • With promoter Eddie Hearn revealing he is in talks with several major stadiums to host Froch-Groves II, ESPN UK looks back at ten stadium superfights
  • Read the full list here

Froch said: "It's the fight that the British public want so I'm excited that we are getting it on again. I'm looking forward to finally shutting George Groves up and putting him behind me."

Groves, meanwhile, struggled to contain his delight.

"I'm really chuffed to be honest," he said. "Not for one second did I think Carl Froch would take this fight.

"I went to great lengths to put myself in the best position possible to get this fight on. I'm truly, truly excited and chuffed to be here."

The announcement comes fewer than 24 hours after IBF president Daryl Peoples told Boxing Scene that the pair have "come to an agreement" and as a result "will not go to purse bids".

He added: "It is an excellent fight, great for the IBF and the UK, and I understand that there's been quite a demand for it. They are two top-notch fighters."

Speaking of his decision to have the fight in a football stadium, Hearn added: "I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I took this indoors because you never know what it could have done."

Froch, it is reported, wants the fight to take place at the City Ground, home of his beloved Nottingham Forest - but reports suggest Arsenal's Emirates Stadium is the most likely option.

It ends weeks of speculation that has dominated the headlines in British boxing circles since referee Howard Foster stepped in to end their first fight in the ninth round in November - a decision that left Groves fuming.

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