Carl Froch Vs George Groves And Boxing's Great British Grudge Matches

On this day nine years ago, the legendary Froch vs Groves rivalry began
19:00, 23 Nov 2022

Nine years ago today, Carl Froch and George Groves collided at the Manchester Arena, waging the first of two wars that defined an era for British boxing. Their inaugural outing was a thriller, with ‘Cobra’ climbing off the canvas to finish ‘Saint George’ in the ninth round. But the stoppage caused controversy, with many deeming it premature, Groves included. The inevitable rematch took place the following year, with Froch winning again in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, a fact he likes to mention from time to time.

To celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting, here are five more classic British grudges that matched the ferocity of the Froch/Groves series.


Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn, 18th November 1990

The benchmark for British boxing rivalries, either this fight or their 1993 draw at Old Trafford would have been worthy of inclusion here. We have opted for their first fight because it was just that little bit more exciting and it delivered a definitive result.

That result was Eubank proving he was ‘Simply The Best’, stopping the feared ‘Dark Destroyer’ in the ninth round. The victory saw Eubank lift Benn’s WBO middleweight championship, his first professional world title. But the rivalry between these two diametric opposites was never about belts. It was about superiority and on a Birmingham night 30 years ago, that belonged to Eubank.

Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno, 1st October 1993

Lewis was the cold, calculating WBC champion who fans had never quite warmed to. Bruno was the beloved national treasure, celebrated by all despite a pair of losses in world title challenges. ‘The Lion’ bristled at Bruno’s hero status, especially given he had become his country’s first heavyweight champion since 1899.

Lewis made digs about Bruno’s sideline on the pantomime stage in the build-up. Bruno fired back, questioning Lewis’ status as a Brit due to the fact he won his Olympic gold medal while representing Canada. The war of words was a draw, but Lewis would win the boxing match via seventh-round TKO after an exciting heavyweight battle.

David Haye vs Derek Chisora, 14th July 2012

British boxing has seen its fair share of grudge matches. But there’s grudge matches and then there’s fights that become so personal that both fighters are denied boxing licences and have to find under the auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation.

These were the circumstances ‘Hayemaker’ and ‘Del Boy’ found themselves in after a public brawl broke out between the pair. Haye had challenged Chisora after his points defeat to Vitali Klitschko. The resulting melee led to a glass being smashed over Chisora’s head, furniture being thrown and Chisora allegedly threatening to shoot Haye.

Haye was ostensibly retired at this point, while the British Boxing Board of Control revoked Chisora’s license. Enter: the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. The body got both men licensed and they fought at Upton Park in a highly-anticipated collision. Haye showed no signs of ring rust after a year away, stopping Chisora in the fifth round. Not the best grudge match ever staged, but arguably the one with the deepest grudge.

Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte, 12th December 2015

Rivalries often carry over from the amateur game into the professional ranks. That was the case when ‘AJ’ met ‘The Body Snatcher’ in 2015. Whyte had knocked Joshua down in a 2009 unpaid bout, beating the future heavyweight champion by decision.

A lot had changed in the ensuing years, with Joshua becoming an Olympic gold medalist in 2012. This disparity was reflected when they met in the pros, with Joshua winning an absolute thriller. ‘AJ’ was rocked for the first time as a professional, but rallied to stop Whyte in the seventh round. Joshua would win the IBF heavyweight championship in his very next fight, while Whyte lost to Tyson Fury for the WBC strap earlier this year.

Amir Khan vs Kell Brook, 19th February 2022

We end where we began, at that great cathedral of boxing; the Manchester Arena. The Khan-Brook rivalry had been bubbling for much of the previous decade. Both men reigned as world champions. Both took their talents to the United States, recording signature wins across the pond. Both reached outside their weight class and got stopped by bonafide middleweights.

While this fight should have happened sooner, when Amir and Kell finally did tangle, it was worth the wait. A ferocious battle befitting the festering ill-feelings between the pair, Brook would leave with the spoils. Khan fought bravely, but was overwhelmed in six exciting rounds by ‘Special K’.

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