George Groves: 'It was a terrible, terrible decision'

Super-middleweight star George Groves tells BT Sport's Boxing Tonight about his disappointment with referee Howard Foster after his controversial stoppage loss to Carl Froch in their world title bout at the weekend.
  • video George Groves on the attack against Carl Froch (Getty Images)
    Simon Head
    By  
    Last updated: 25 November 2013, 22:00 GMT

    British super-middleweight contender George Groves reiterated his belief that his chance to win a world title was "taken away" from him after his controversial TKO defeat to Carl Froch on Saturday night.

    Groves floored Froch in the opening round of the contest at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, and was ahead on all three judges' scorecards before referee Howard Foster's controversial intervention mid-way through the ninth round.

    “The fight right up until the point of the stoppage was going exactly how I knew it would," Groves told BT Sport's boxing chat show Boxing Tonight.

    "I gave some bold predictions before the fight,  I even went as far as telling Mr Froch how the first three rounds were going to go. It was even worse than he could possibly imagine, being put over in the first round. He had no success, no success at all throughout the whole fight. And the first time he landed a couple of shots, at the same time I was still defending, making him miss and punching back.

    "The referee made a horrendous decision and jumped in and stopped the fight. I’m bitterly disappointed.”

    The Londoner said immediately after the contest that he was gutted and that the fight had been taken away from him - and after rewatching the contest his opinion stands firm.

    “I’ve gone back, I’ve watched the tapes. It was a terrible, terrible, decision," he explained.

    "At no point was I on shaky legs, my head was clear. The referee just had a terrible night.

    George Groves and Amir Khan are guests on Boxing Tonight this week

    Watch the full interview with George Groves and Amir Khan on Boxing Tonight on Tuesday at 8pm, BT Sport 1.

    “Carl, for all his great attributes, the best thing he does is take punches. That’s the only thing he can take away from that fight in my opinion.

    "He crosses his legs when he attacks, he leaves big gaping defensive errors. In the first round he had a cumbersome attack and he walked straight onto a right hand and that was it, he got put over.”

    “In round six I landed double figures - heavy, heavy, shots - consecutively with no reply. I was winning the rounds clearly, no one would argue that.

    “He looked like Bambi in headlights, he was stunned, didn’t know what to expect.”

    Groves also complained that Froch was given far too much leeway by referee Foster, saying the defending champion committed repeated fouls against him during the contest.

    “I wasn’t in a desperate place, we had some fundamental points that we wanted to bring up at the rules meeting. And one was that we wanted to work on the inside, much like Andre Ward did.”

    “I knew I could control him on the inside because he can’t fight on the inside. So each time one of my arms was taken I was there working away with the other hand, the referee would stay stop and I would get hit on the break, which is a foul.

    "[It got] To the point where I was letting Carl Froch hit me because it was that blatant, I thought 'how many warnings can the referee give him?' At some point he’s going to have to take a point off and then he’ll be in trouble and get disqualified.”

    He looked like Bambi in headlights, he was stunned, didn’t know what to expect."

    George Groves on Carl Froch

    But on the most controversial moment of the bout - the stoppage itself - Groves was insistent that the referee made a huge error.

    “The referee is supposed to stop the fight when you’re in a dangerous position and can’t protect yourself," he explained.

    "If I’m making the guy miss and I’m still firing back that means I’m still conscious, that I’m in the fight and that I’m doing the right things.

    "Carl Froch was, in my opinion, on his last legs and emptying the tank. And I was happy to let him punch away and miss the majority of his punches because I had three rounds to go after that and that was when I planned to really step it up.”

    “To win over a boxing crowd, that’s the ultimate goal and that’s the only thing I can really take from this fight as a consolation.”

    There had been bad blood during the build-up to the bout, and Groves explained that Froch's reaction immediately after their controversial contest didn't do the Nottingham man any favours with the fans.

    “After the fight, I didn’t blame Carl Froch, I said it was a terrible decision, its unjust, but I’m happy to shake his hand.

    "He wasn’t happy to shake my hand, he told me words that I can’t repeat on TV.  And afterwards after my trainer went over and said 'you need to tell your fella to behave now, he needs to be a little more gracious in this win'.

    "He came over and we spoke, but he desperately tried to justify the win and I think that’s another reason why people were booing him.”

     

    KHAN CRITICISES EARLY STOPPAGE

    Former two-time light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan backed Groves' assessment of the contest, saying that he thought the referee stopped the bout "just a bit too early".

    Khan was working as a TV pundit in the arena on the night, and explained that he thought Groves was winning the fight when the bout was stopped.

    “I gave most of the rounds to Groves, I thought he was winning the fight with that long jab," Khan told BT Sport's Boxing Tonight.

    "He was catching Carl coming in every time and in the first round when he put him down with that right hand, it was an amazing shot.

    "Carl was very lucky the bell went, if the bell hadn’t gone I think the fight would probably have been stopped because he was off his feet and he was really gone.”

    Khan also explained he felt the stoppage was too early, especially given the fact it was a world title bout.

    “When the referee did stop the fight, George got hit with two good shots, but his feet were still solid, he was still strong, he was still defending himself at the same time," said Khan.

    "I don’t think he should have stopped the fight, there were two world titles on the line.

    “Sometimes it’s a good thing that the referee stops the fight because you always have another day, but I really believe the fight at the weekend between Groves and Froch should not have been stopped.  It was just a bit too early.”

    Watch the full interview with George Groves and Amir Khan on Boxing Tonight on Tuesday at 8pm, BT Sport 1.

    Not a BT Sport subscriber? Find out how to get BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN at bt.com/sport

    Simon Head
    By  
    Last updated: 25 November 2013, 22:00 GMT

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