By James Slater
The boxing story that continues to dominate the UK headlines has taken another twist, as The IBF has ordered a rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves to take place within 90 days. Froch, the IBF and WBA super-middleweight champ, told Sky Sports yesterday that a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Junior, in Las Vegas, motivates him far more than does a return with the man he controversially TKO’d in the 9th-round of a great fight back in November. However, Froch must now grant Groves a return or run the risk of being stripped of one of his two prized world titles.
Both camps were informed of the IBF decision today:
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.
Froch promoter Eddie Hearn, said a Froch-Groves rematch would be a huge event but he also stated to Sky Sports how a Froch-Chavez Jr fight – which would go out on HBO in the U.S and be treated to a 24/7 build-up – is also an exciting option for Froch. Hearn also confirmed how Groves yesterday turned down an offer put to him by Matchroom to face Froch again, with Groves not satisfied with the offer.
Talks between all concerned will continue, but with the IBF’s ruling the pressure seems to be on Froch to fight Groves a second time in his next bout.