Boxing - IBF orders Froch v Groves rematch following furore over ref's call

The International Boxing Federation has ordered a rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves following the controversial bout in November, and requested it takes place within 90 days.

Groves dominated much of the bout in Manchester, flooring his opponent early on, but it was Froch who successfully defended his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles when referee Howard Foster made the now infamous decision to step between the fighters and end the contest in Froch's favour.

The decision from the man in the middle baffled fans and pundits since Groves appeared to be in no serious trouble at the time, and a campaign for a rematch has rumbled ever since after a night that is widely seen as one of the worst decisions in recent boxing history.

As Eurosport's Liam Happe wrote at the time, Groves was well ahead on the cards yet "was withdrawn from the fight by referee Howard Foster in the midst of his first truly troubling period of an otherwise excellent showing."

IBF chairman Lindsey Tucker explained the appeal process which led to the rematch order: "After a fight our rules say a boxer has 10 days to file an appeal. Groves did that, and at a hearing on January 15 in Newark we had a three-man panel review all of the evidence and they came back with the decision we must order a rematch.

"The 90 day period starts from Friday, January 24 and I'm pretty sure Carl Froch will have already received notification.

"If he fails to defend the belt against Groves within this period it's more than likely he will lose his title. The fighters and their teams have a certain amount of time to come to an agreement and if they can't, it will come down to purse bids.

"If for some reason Froch gave up the title then we would order the two highest-rated guys to fight for the vacant belt. Since we already ordered Groves to fight Froch, he would be likely to be one of the guys to fight for that vacant title."

Groves was delighted with the IBF's decision.

"I'm extremely proud and delighted to have some justice," Groves told Sky Sports, before throwing doubt on whether the ordered bout will go ahead - despite the fact that Froch will be stripped of his belt if he refuses.

"The fight's going to happen from my perspective - whether Carl Froch takes the fight or not remains to be seen."

The news comes after Groves admitted that he had turned down an 'unsatisfactory' offer to fight heated rival Froch, but insisted it is a fight he wants to take place sooner rather than later.

"I am unsure why Carl Froch has today (24/01/14) released a statement implying I do not wish to take the fight, as I was under the impression we are still in negotiations," said Groves before the IBF's statement. "The Matchroom offer in question came with many stipulations and options I felt were unsatisfactory.

"I am currently awaiting an improved offer from his promoter, as well as speaking to other promoters interested in promoting this fight."

Groves won public support for both his heroic performance and display of sportsmanship in the first fight and now, two months on, is keen to exact revenge on Froch and right perceived wrongs.

"If I didn’t want to fight Carl Froch then I wouldn’t have invested so much time and money into appealing with the IBF over the dubious outcome of the first fight," said Groves. "And I await the outcome of that hearing in the very near future."

Froch claimed he had offered Groves a seven-figure fee for a rematch, but Groves told Sky, "Seven figures sounds great until you take in to account that eight figures should be available."