Froch vs Groves II set for May 31... so, which football ground will host the big fight?
By Jeff Powell - dailymail.co.uk
Carl Froch and George Groves will meet in a British blockbuster re-match on May 31.
Nottingham’s world super-middleweight champion and the young Londoner he beat amid such heated controversy in their first fight will now meet again.
The venue for this bitter Battle of Britain will be a major English football stadium.
Rematch: Promoter Eddie Hearn (centre) is confident Carl Froch (left) and George Groves (right) will fight again
Froch is hoping to fulfil a career-long ambition by boxing in the City Ground home of his beloved Nottingham Forest.
Groves, a Chelsea fan, is keen on Stamford Bridge but Froch is highly unlikely to concede him such home turf advantage.
However Old Trafford, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Upton Park at West Ham are other grounds under consideration.
Wembley is unavailable as the fight is scheduled for one of the last two Saturdays in May, when the Stadium is staging Football League play-offs and an England match.
Groves has been campaigning, for what will be one of the biggest fights in Britain’s recent boxing history, since the November night in Manchester when referee Howard Foster waved him to the only defeat of his career.
Uproar greeted that ninth-round stoppage which did appear premature even though Froch had his 10-years-younger challenger in some trouble at that point.
Froch insisted it was he who had been robbed - of the impending knock-out which would have pre-empted all the angry arguments which ensued.
After the IBF confirmed agreement for Froch-Groves II had been reached between the warring parties, the 36-year-old Cobra said: ‘The two dream fights for me before I retire are one at the City Ground, then the other in Las Vegas. So it looks like they’re both coming true.
‘After I’ve beaten Groves again – but this time clinically – and put him behind me for good I will then get my big night on the Vegas strip.’
Froch has answered the clamorous call for the re-match even though he had the option of achieving another cherished aim by fighting in Las Vegas, in a midsummer clash with Mexican idol Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
Although he also holds the WBA ‘regular’ world 12-stone title, Froch has decided against vacating the full IBF title after that organisation accepted an appeal from Groves to be made their mandatory challenger for a second time.
That again gives Froch the lion’s share of the purse. Officially the split should be 85 to 15 per cent in his favour, although the pair are believed to have come to a confidential settlement which improves the take for Groves to some extent.
The revenue will be boosted by Sky Sports, who will announce on Thursday that the fight will be broadcast on their Box Office channel, but it is by no means certain that Groves will achieve the seven-figure offer he received from promoter Eddie Hearn at the onset of negotiations last month.
If it happens in Nottingham, the pay-per-view returns will more than offset any live gate shortfall between a 36,000 sell-out at the City Ground and a 60-70,000 crowd at a Premier League stadium.
Wherever, the public will be gagging for decisive resolution to a dispute which has fiercely divided national opinion.
Groves, for his part, has opted against agreeing to a delay in the re-match in the hope of achieving purse parity later this year – either if Froch lost the IBF title to Chavez or he picked up one of the other alphabet titles in the interim.
This brings on the grudge re-match born after he dominated the early rounds in Manchester – having floored Froch with a massive right hand in the first – only for Foster to intervene when he was staggered for the first time.
The British Board continue to stand solidly behind their star-class referee and were concerned that Foster was not invited to give evidence at the IBF hearing which criticised him while upholding the complaint from Groves.
They have rejected an appeal from Groves for the result of the first battle to be changed to No Contest, which would have removed the only defeat from his record.
Board secretary Robert Smith told Sportsmail: ‘We noted that the IBF granted George a return bout but this is a matter of opinion. Howard Foster is a world class referee and we support the decision he made, in the best interests of George Groves.’
Both bodies, however, are enthusiastic about the return match.,
Smith adds: ‘This promises to be a fantastic domestic fight between a great world champion and a terrific young challenger, which should be very good for British boxing.’
Daryl J Peoples, president of the IBF, told Boxing Scene: ‘It’s an excellent fight. Great for the IBF and the UK. They’re two top-notch fighters.’
Hearn has worked tirelessly to prevent the match going to purse bids open to other promoters and I understand that Froch has made his financial concession so that his team can keep control of the event.
Hearn, confirming this as a stadium fight, says: ‘I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I took this fight indoors.’
Froch-Groves II will be the biggest re-match in this country since Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank fought a second time, at Old Trafford 21 years ago.
The betting odds will be much closer this time, although Froch is likely to be the favourite again.
Carl Froch and George Groves to meet in Sky Sports Box Office rematch
Froch v Groves II - one of the most eagerly anticipated events in world boxing -will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday, May 31, 2014.
Boxing fans around the world called for a rematch the moment the clash between Carl Froch and George Groves last November was stopped in the ninth round and Froch awarded victory by technical knock-out.
Froch will once again defend his WBA and IBF world super-middleweight titles against the young Londoner. Should Groves win, he will become a world champion, take Froch's titles, and propel himself to the forefront of the super-middleweight division.
"I know that George Groves was gone, even the people that thought the referee stopped the fight too early, still agree that the fight was only going one way which was George Groves being flat on his face," Froch said.
"The British public are behind this and this was almost the only fight out there for me to reasonably take. I've given the British public what they wanted for years and years and I won't stop doing it now."
Groves, who sensationally put the champion down in the first round last time, added: "Carl has to fight me now because the fans demand it and because I am mandatory for the IBF title so that's where we are at."
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: "It's the fight that everyone is waiting for and it's live only on Sky Sports Box Office.
"The first bout offered incredible drama and bravery from both men and I'm sure we'll see something similar in May."
The fight forms part of an incredible month of live sport on Sky including the end of the football season, Test cricket F1 Grand Prix, golf and Super League.
Promoter and managing director of Matchroom Sport, Eddie Hearn, said: "Quite simply, I believe this is one of the biggest fights in British boxing history.
"It was one of the most epic and exhilarating fights I have ever witnessed and I'm delighted the public are going to get a chance to see it all again.
"The unanswered questions from the first fight may now be answered. Get ready for a whirlwind of a build-up and an event and fight for the ages - Froch v Groves II is on!"
Sky Sports viewers can follow all the build-up to the event with weekly magazine show Ringside, plus documentary series 'Behind The Ropes' which will provide unique access to both boxers' training camps and will also be available On Demand.
Sky Sports News will bring breaking news from both camps, interviews and analysis from top experts and those close to the fighters. Additional interviews and blogs from our experts including former world cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson plus the Ringside Toe-2-Toe podcast will also be available on skysports.com.
Froch v Groves II is also part of a busy May on Sky Sports that includes live coverage of golf's Players Championship, the final day of the Premier League season, UEFA Champions League Final, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix, Heineken Cup Final, Super League's Magic Weekend, Sky Bet Championship and League 1 and 2 Play-Offs and Finals, and Scottish Cup Final.
The agreement is the latest in a series of long-term rights announcements made by Sky Sports, strengthening its unrivalled portfolio of live sport across six channels. On Monday Sky announced it had secured a new seven year agreement for live US PGA Tour golf, and last week announced new deals for British & Irish Lions, Super League, WWE, Scottish Football, Cricket New Zealand and speedway.
Carl Froch and George Groves agree to rematch
British super-middleweight rivals Carl Froch and George Groves have agreed to a rematch, to take place at a football stadium on Saturday, 31 May.
Nottingham's Froch, 36, retained his WBA and IBF titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Groves last November.
But Londoner Groves, 25, complained the fight was ended too soon.
"I listened to the public and gave them what they wanted. I expect this to be one of the biggest fights the country has ever seen," Froch said.
"I am still shocked that Froch has agreed to take the fight. I respect him for his bravery.
"Britain will have its own Hagler-Hearns to talk about for years to come."
The bout is the biggest rematch in British boxing since Chris Eubank fought Nigel Benn for a second time at Old Trafford in 1993.
Froch-Groves II is expected to break the box-office record for a British fight, with Old Trafford in Manchester and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium being suggested as possible venues.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said he wanted upwards of 80,000 people to be at the fight, adding: "I believe this is the biggest fight in British boxing history. I want to see how big we can make it."
The record attendance for a post-World War II boxing show was for Ricky Hatton's fight against Luan Lazcano, which drew 55,000 fans at the City of Manchester Stadium in 2008.
There were bitter recriminations in the wake of the first fight between Froch and Groves at the Manchester Arena.
Groves led on points after flooring the champion in round one but referee Howard Foster stepped in to halt proceedings when Froch went on the attack in round nine.
With Froch angling for a rematch against American Andre Ward or a fight with Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas, it looked like Groves might have to wait for his chance to avenge the loss.
He initially rejected a "seven-figure" offer from Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn for a rematch, claiming there were too many "stipulations".
But then, last month, the IBF ordered Froch to fight Groves again within 90 days or risk losing his belt.
Groves also petitioned the British Boxing Board of Control to restore his unbeaten status by declaring his defeat by Froch a no contest.
Froch continued: "It's been a difficult period for me following the first fight. I've had to listen to his endless whining and appeals when ultimately the referee did him perhaps the biggest favour possible and saved him from a devastating knockout, whilst denying me the right of a clinical finish and a great comeback victory.
"I was poor in the first fight. I didn't give him the respect as a fighter. I can't wait to get back in there and do a proper job."
However Groves said he was within his rights to appeal. He told Sky Sports: "All I want is a rematch."
Under the terms of the IBF's rematch directive, challenger Groves was only entitled to 15% of the purse.
However, Hearn said the directive would only have been relevant if the fight had gone to purse bids and suggested Froch had agreed to shift on the percentage.
Froch's victory in the first fight took his career record to 32 wins from 34 fights, while defeat for Groves was his first in 20 professional outings.
Froch-Groves rematch set for May 31
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.
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."
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.
Carl Froch v George Groves rematch is on after two fighters agree May 31 date and a split purse
Promoter Eddie Hearn insists the Carl Froch v George Groves rematch will break all box-office records for a British fight, and is anticipating a crowd of 80,000 if he can secure Wembley Stadium
By Gareth A Davies, Boxing Correspondent - telegraph.co.uk
Carl Froch has proven to be a man of his word by taking the world title rematch with George Groves - and the fighters have agreed to split the purse.
The two British supermiddleweights announced the rematch on Thursday morning, with promoter Eddie Hearn insisting the contest will break all box-office records for a British fight, and is anticipating a crowd of 80,000 if he can secure Wembley Stadium.
The date for the fight is May 31 but the venue is yet to be confirmed.
Froch beat Groves to retain his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles when referee Howard Foster stopped the fight in the ninth round in controversial circumstances last November, insisting Groves was in no condition to continue.
Groves, however, had knocked Froch down in the first round, and was ahead on all three of the judges' cards when the fight was stopped.
The IBF have since upheld an appeal by Groves, and ordered an immediate re-match, citing Foster's misinterpretation of the ending.
In spite of the attritional relationship between the two men, indications that a deal had been struck were there on Tuesday when BoxingScene.com quoted the International Boxing Federation president, Daryl Peoples, as saying: "We have been informed by Carl Froch's people and George Groves's people that they have come to an agreement, so it will not go out to purse bids.
"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're two top-notch fighters. We haven't been notified of a venue just yet - they're trying to finalise those details - but I understand that the contracts will be with us soon."
By all accounts, Hearn is still looking at several venues, among them Old Trafford, the Etihad, Wembley, Twickenham, Emirates, Nottingham Forest, or even the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "It's the fight that everyone is waiting for and it's live only on Sky Box Office. The first bout offered incredible drama and bravery from both men and I'm sure we'll see something similar in May.
"The fight forms part of an incredible month of live sport on Sky including the end of the football season, Test cricket, F1 Grand Prix, golf and Super League."
Promoter and managing director of Matchroom Sport, Eddie Hearn, said: "Quite simply, I believe this is one of the biggest fights in British boxing history. It was one of the most epic and exhilarating fights I have ever witnessed and I'm delighted the public are going to get a chance to see it all again.
"The unanswered questions from the first fight may now be answered. Get ready for a whirlwind of a build-up and an event and fight for the ages - Froch v Groves II is on."
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