THE chances of super middleweight champion Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch taking on Hammersmith’s George Groves in his next fight increased dramatically after the IBF ordered the pair to reach agreement by July 12, for the contest to take place before the middle of October.
This will come as welcome news to promoters Matchroom, who represent both fighters and have been keen on Groves being Froch’s next assignment after the Nottingham champion successfully defended his title against Mikkel Kessler at the O2 in May.
IBF chairman Lindsey Tucker was quoted as saying in The Sun: “Adonis Stevenson was the mandatory but got tired of waiting for the opportunity to fight Froch and moved up to light-heavyweight to box for the WBC title.
“Under the rules, when that happens we go down the list to see who is next. We got down as far as Groves, and he has been made our mandatory challenger for Froch.”
For info: In the latest IBF super middleweight ratings published on June 10, positions one and two are conveniently ‘Not Rated’. Third place is occupied by Dominican Edwin Rodriguez, with Lucian Bute, who Froch demolished in May last year to first win the belt, placed fourth.
South African Thomas Oosthuizen, who recorded a split decision bore draw with Brandon Gonzales on the weekend, is placed fifth, with Groves at number six.
Tucker also said: “We have sent letters to both fighters, dated June 10, and asked them to start negotiations for a mandatory defence. The boxers will have until July 12 to come to an agreement. If they can’t, we will then call for a purse bid.”
Presumably, Matchroom won’t want it to go that far, as purse bids could lead to all sorts of promotional shenanigans.
Of course, Froch could decide to vacate the IBF title should a more lucrative opportunity arise, but there may not be one.
Later in the morning Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing head and promoter of both men, responded to the IBF ruling and clarified the respective positions of birthday boy Froch - 36 today - and his 25-year-old potential challenger.
“We are in talks regarding a potential blockbuster domestic fight later this year,” said Hearn.
“Both fighters have plenty of options and although it’s a fight we originally envisaged for next summer, if it makes sense for both fighters, neither has a problem with making it happen.”
The statement concluded: “An announcement will be made next week regarding future plans for both fighters.”