Froch KO's Groves to retain super-middleweight titles
British boxer Carl Froch (C) holds up a title belt after beating British boxer George Groves by knock out during their WBA and IBF super-middleweight title bout at Wembley Stadium in north London on May 31, 2014 - by Ben Stansall
Froch stopped his British rival with a big right hand to retain his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) belts in front of a record crowd of 80,000.
It was a stunning finish from Froch after a tense eight rounds, with the punch separating Groves from his senses and leaving him on the canvas.
It was Froch’s fourth defence of the IBF belt and second defence of the WBA title, in what is his third reign as world champion.
Froch improved to 33 wins and two defeats and he perhaps only has one more fight left before retiring.
That may be against another British fighter James DeGale, who stopped American Brandon Gonzales in the fourth round on the undercard in an eliminator for the IBF belt.
For Groves, a second defeat in his 21st fight leaves a third fight with Froch looking unlikely.
It was not as exciting an encounter as their first one had been until the savage finish from Froch, which nailed Groves to the canvas.
There was no question Groves could carry on and referee Charlie Fitch immediately waved the fight off as the challenger tried to get to his feet.
In November, referee Howard Foster controversially stopped Groves in the ninth round, with the Londoner ahead on the judges’ scorecards after putting Froch on the canvas in the first round.
It had been a thrilling encounter and such was the interest in the rematch that a record boxing crowd – the biggest in Britain for a fight since the Second World War - turned up to see it.
Froch stressed pre-fight he would be more controlled in the rematch after admitting he had fallen for Groves’ mind games and teasing in the build up to their first fight, leading to mistakes.
The 36-year-old had even employed a sports psychologist to help him prepare for the biggest fight held in Britain in recent history which is expected to generate up to £20million.
And to ensure he did not get wound up before the fight, Froch stood with his back to Groves until it was time to fight.
It was the Nottingham boxer’s 12th successive world title fight but he looked nervous and cautious in the first round, while Groves scored with his fast jab.
Groves, who successfully lobbied the IBF to order a rematch, had predicted a left hook would finish Froch inside three rounds but like the champion did not throw combinations early on.
It was tense, with neither wanting to leave himself open and in the third round there were boos at the inaction until Froch threw a flurry of blows.
Groves, 26, caught Froch with a big right on the counter after the champion had landed a left at the end of the third as the fight warmed up.
Froch's careful approach meant Groves was first to land a meaningful blow in the fourth with a right cross.
But Froch launched his biggest assault in the fifth round when he hammered Groves with a series of hooks before the Londoner scuttled off to saftey.
Groves became ragged and more open as fifth went on and Froch took advantage in his best round so far to edge ahead.
Just as Froch seemed to be assuming control, Groves got through with a left to the chin that rocked his rival back onto his heals in the seventh.
But with the challenger trapped against the ropes, Froch suddenly threw a big right that detonated like a bomb on his jaw, which left Groves in a heap on the canvas in the eighth round.
The Londoner tried to get up but referee Charlie Fitch instantly stopped it after two minutes and 35 seconds of the eighth round. Groves had to sit on his stool for a few minutes while he regained his senses before getting to his feet.