The much-anticipated rematch between IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch and George Groves appears to be on – for late May in the UK – after it emerged deals have been struck with both fighters.
The IBF confirmed on Wednesday that Froch-Groves II will not be going to purse bids – a clear sign that British promoter Eddie Hearn has finally managed to thrash out terms acceptable to each of the rival Englishmen.
“We have been informed by Carl Froch’s people and George Groves’ people that they have come to an agreement, so it will not go to purse bids,” IBF president Daryl J. Peoples reportedly told BoxingScene.com.
That is the news all fight fans have been waiting to hear ever since the first grudge scrap between the Brits in Manchester last November ended with Froch’s controversial 9th-round TKO over Groves (19-1, 15 knockouts).
The stoppage looked desperately premature at the time and an appeal by Groves to the IBF was upheld in January as the organisation ordered that 36-year-old Froch’s fourth defense must be against his bitter foe from west London.
“We’ve made significant progress and it’s getting close but we haven’t sent the contracts to the IBF yet. Until we send them out, it is not done,” was Hearn’s more cautious response to the IBF disclosure.
Hearn, however, did accept that one of the country’s major football stadiums is likely to stage the early-summer show. Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) would love that to be his local club Nottingham Forest’s City Ground but its 30,000 capacity may not be able to satisfy the massive demand for tickets. The last fight at the Phones 4U Arena was a 19,000 sell-out inside 10 minutes.
Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in north London, which houses 62,000, would be more preferable and there have been discussions between Hearn and the Premier League club regards its availability on the last two Saturdays in May.
While the venue is still to be rubber-stamped, one topic no longer up for debate is whether Groves' only professional defeat to date should be wiped from the record books. The British Boxing Board of Control has rejected a written bid by the 25-year-old contender to declare the bout a 'no contest’.
"We noted that the IBF granted George a return bout but this is a matter of opinion," said BBBoC secretary Robert Smith to the Daily Mail. "Howard is a world-class referee and we support the decision he made, in the best interests of George Groves.’
Photo / Scott Heavey-Getty Images
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