London, England (Sports Network) - IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch retained his championship in convincing fashion before 80,000 fans at London's Wembley Stadium when he stopped challenger George Groves with a single right hand for a technical knockout in the eighth round of a scheduled 12.
Froch had met Groves six months ago and stopped him in nine rounds, but a rematch was mandated by the IBF when it determined that referee Howard Foster had made an "improper stoppage" in declaring Groves unfit to continue. It was nothing near that in the second go-round, which ended when Froch pressed Groves against the ropes, had a swinging left hand blocked and landed a follow-up right that dropped his foe flat on his back with his left leg twisted underneath him.
Referee Charlie Fitch waved the fight off without a count and Groves appeared ready for another protest, but wobbled badly upon rising and was later given an oxygen mask as he sat on the stool in his corner. The two fighters, who'd engaged in a months-long vendetta leading into the second match, briefly embraced after the stoppage this time.
The win was the 33rd in 35 career fights for the 36-year-old Froch, who defended his IBF belt for the fourth time since winning it from Lucian Bute. He's 10-2 in world title fights and has still never lost on British soil -- with his two career defeats coming to Mikkel Kessler in Denmark and Andre Ward in the United States.
Groves landed 126 of 314 punches for the fight and appeared in control in the early going with faster hands and more precise -- if not more concussive -- single shots. Froch rallied at the end of the fourth round with some previously absent body work, and he appeared more energized in rounds five, six and seven as Groves slowly tired.
The same had been true in the first fight, when Groves dropped Froch in the first round and led on all three official scorecards prior to the dubious stoppage in the ninth. SportNetwork.com had Groves ahead this time, 67-66, after seven rounds after giving him the first four and Froch the next three.