2014-06-01 06:42 AM
LONDON (AP) -- Carl Froch knocked out British rival George Groves in the eighth round to retain his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles in a rematch in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Froch floored Groves with a huge right hook with about 30 seconds remaining in the round, with the referee immediately stopping one of most hyped fights in the country's boxing history. He improved to 33-2, with 24 knockouts.
"This is the greatest moment of my boxing career," Froch said. "It's the biggest event I've been involved in."
Groves (19-2, 15 KOs) had started slower but grew into the fight, only to be knocked down with Froch's biggest punch of the bout.
"I feel like I let myself down," said Groves, who had vowed to send Froch into retirement with a victory. "Fair play, he got me with the punch."
The rematch was ordered by the IBF after Froch's win in a controversial first fight in Manchester in November, when the referee stepped in too soon with Groves wobbling on his feet.
This time, there were no complaints from Groves, who required treatment in his corner before going to congratulate Froch -- showing the bad blood between the pair that had dominated the build-up was over.
The rematch was not as exciting as the first fight, with both boxers more restrained and seemingly intent on lasting the full distance.
Froch -- arguably Britain's top boxer for the last five years -- dominated the center of the ring but only first connected with a left hand in the third round that rocked back Groves.
Froch's punches were generally ragged and he walked into some punches by Groves in the sixth and seventh rounds.
The ending was conclusive, though, with Froch swinging initially with his left and following it up with a massive right that left Groves in a heap on the canvas.
"It was neck and neck, there was nothing in it," said Froch, who wants to crown his career with a fight in Las Vegas. "One punch was all the difference."
The fight captured the public imagination, and was considered the biggest grudge match in British boxing since the days of the Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank rivalry in the early 1990s.