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IBF's official decision on Froch vs Groves rematch order: 'Groves should have been allowed to continue'

The IBF feels that referee Howard John Foster misread the situation in the Froch-Groves fight, and that George Groves should have been allowed to continue. "In sum," the IBF says, "the panel felt it was an improper stoppage."

Scott Heavey
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Here is the IBF's official release on their decision to order an immediate rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves:

On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, an IBF Appeal Panel convened to hear the appeal of George Groves regarding his November 23, 2013, bout with Carl Froch. This bout was a mandatory defense of Carl Froch's IBF Super Middleweight title and an optional defense of his WBA Super Middleweight title.

George Groves' appeal was based in part on Rule 12. A. 2 of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests - Inappropriate conduct by the referee which is alleged to have affected the outcome of the fight.

There were a number of reasons presented in his appeal presented as evidence of inappropriate conduct by referee Howard Foster. However, the one argument presented to the panel that they could make and educated decision on was that the referee simply misinterpreted George Groves' evasive techniques as being an indication that Mr. Groves was in "trouble". The panel determined that the referee gave appropriate warnings to both fighters but did not choose to deduct points. The panel felt that in the 9th round, Groves should have been allowed to continue as he did not appear to be seriously hurt and was counter punching and attempting to move the action away from the ropes at the time of the stoppage. In addition, the referee waived off the fight from behind Groves instead of in front of him and did not look into his eyes. Groves showed no signs of being hurt after the stoppage. In sum, the panel felt it was an improper stoppage.

After a review of the information presented to the panel, it has been determined that there was inappropriate conduct by the referee that affected the outcome of the fight. Based on the foregoing the IBF is ordering an immediate rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF Super Middleweight title. The Bout must take place within 90 days, or by April 24, 2014, and neither boxer can take any other fight in that time frame. The signed contracts are due within 15 days or by February 8, 2014. If the IBF doesn't receive the contracts by February 8, 2014, we will call for a Purse Bid.

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