Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Carl Froch: Punch that knocked out George Groves was biggest and most satisfying of my career

Carl Froch knocks down George Groves to win the IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight at Wembley
Carl Froch knocks down George Groves to win the IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight at Wembley
Carl Froch with George Groves after their IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight bout at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2014 in London, England
Carl Froch with George Groves after their IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight bout at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2014 in London, England
Carl Froch with George Groves after their IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight bout at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2014 in London, England
Carl Froch with George Groves after their IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight bout at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2014 in London, England

Carl Froch says the crushing right-hand that knocked out George Groves in the eighth round at Wembley on Saturday was the biggest and most satisfying punch of his career.

Froch settled the simmering rivalry between the pair and retained his IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles with a breathtaking hit that left Groves crumpled on the floor in front of 80,000 fans.

"That was the best punch of my life," Froch said.

"You define a good punch from what it means, and what that meant was the whole George Groves saga and the history of the fight came to an end.

"People will look back in years to come and say that was the right hand that finished it all off."

Froch added: "I just threw it, I didn't really try to knock him out. I didn't load up, I just threw the punch and just landed it lovely.

"It was just a lovely pear of a shot and it closed the show and that's what world-class fighters do."

Froch had come under heavy scrutiny since beating Groves with a controversial ninth-round stoppage in November.

The London challenger claimed he had dominated that battle and predicted at the final press conference on Thursday that he would knock Froch out with a left hook.

Froch admits the hype surrounding the legitimacy of his first victory made the win at Wembley all the more rewarding.

"It's one of the most satisfying nights of my life - I've had the weight of the world on my shoulders," Froch said.

"I've had George Groves in the back of my ear hole for the last year because he was in my ear for the Kessler fight in May 2013. It's now May 2014.

"I've boxed Groves twice in a year and I've just not heard the end of it."

At 36, Froch is 10 years Groves' senior and the Nottingham veteran admits the fight was always destined to define his reputation.

"It was a legacy fight - I've had such a long, fantastic career, I've been involved in so many top-level fights," Froch said. "But I said my legacy was at stake and it was, because unfortunately in boxing people remember you for your last fight."

He continued: "My career would have been over - I would have retired if I had lost tonight.

"In the biggest night in British fighting history post-war I didn't want to be remembered as a loser."

After the fight, Froch offered Groves some words of consolation.

"I told him not to go home and be too down and out or go on a downward spiral because you're a great fighter - you were in that fight up until that point," Froch explained. "I punch very hard and unfortunately I caught you with a shot that finished you off and that's boxing.

"It happens to some of the great fighters - you get hit with one shot and George hasn't quite got that toughness you need at the top, top level.

"I said that from the start - he's a good fighter, he's got quick hands, he's skilful and he's done a few bits as an amateur. But if I fight George Groves 10 times I beat him 10 times.

"That's not being big-headed, I've got ingredients you can't teach. You're born with them - toughness and heart and a mindset and a determination - you can't train that."

Froch added: "They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - that could kill him. I shouldn't use that word but it could finish him off or he could get determination from that and come back better.

"It's down to his character now, it's up to him. But who am I to give him advice? I don't think he likes me."

Groves taunted Froch throughout the build-up to the fight but the 26-year-old was magnanimous in defeat.

"Carl Froch is a strong, seasoned world champion and there's no quit in him," Groves said. "Fair play to Carl, he got the job done and was the better man on the night.

"I'm still 26 years old and I just boxed in front of 80,000 fans. I didn't get the result I wanted but I was boxing well and I'm sure I'm going to have a long boxing career ahead of me.

"I of course plan to be world champion still - and plan to be in the not too distant future."

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