George Groves came through a lot to finally achieve his career goal of winning a world title on May 27 – and it prompted an unexpected reaction from long-time nemesis Carl Froch.
London-born Groves took on Fedor Chudinov on the Brook Spence undercard for the vacant WBA super-middleweight belt, stopping the Russian in the sixth round.
Despite being on the defensive and backed onto the ropes for large chunks of the bout, Groves produced a furious combination out of nothing to force the referee to call things to a halt.
It was a relief for Groves not only to finally take world honours, having failed three times before, but also to put behind him the trauma of his fight with Eduard Gutknecht.
Their bout in November left the German with a bleed on the brain resulting in permanent disability, and Groves admitted in the build-up to his fight with Chudinov that he didn’t know whether he would still possess the killer instinct required to finish a competitive opponent.
But he swept all doubts aside, taking his streak of wins since he started training with Shane McGuigan to five.
Watch: Froch's reaction to Groves' victory
The victory drew plaudits from across the boxing community – including Carl Froch, who famously won a high-pressure rematch against Groves in an ill-tempered rivalry running from the first match in 2013.
That fued, it seems, has now been put behind them, as Froch was seen giving Groves a standing ovation from ringside after the stoppage.
Watch it here...
Froch: The hatchet has been buried
Speaking to Sky Sports, Froch said: “I couldn’t do anything but applaud George Groves’ win.
“We did catch each other’s eyes at the end and it just made me feel good.
“I applauded him nodding ‘well done’ and he looked at me and went ‘thanks’. As if to say that the hatchet has been buried and we can move on now.
“He so desperately wanted to be world champion and he came desperately close in the first fight with me.”
The likely option for Groves now is a unification fight with another rival of his – IBF super-middleweight holder James DeGale, and Froch says he can’t see past Groves should the pair meet in the ring.
“Groves has got his fitness in check and Shane McGuigan, his fitness coach and his nutritionist have done a great job. He can have a scrap and get through it.
“I will definitely say it now: he beats James DeGale.”
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