Carl Froch annihilates Lucian Bute in Nottingham

Carl Froch destroys Lucian Bute to win the IBF super-middleweight title and become a three-time world champion

By Ciaran Shanks

Carl Froch proved his doubters wrong yet again as he destroyed Lucian Bute to win the IBF super-middleweight title and become a three-time world champion.

The 34-year-old was considered the underdog heading into the Capital FM Arena in his hometown of Nottingham and knew he would have to give the performance of his life if he was to be successful.

Froch was relentless right from the start, being cheered on by a ferocious partisan crowd, and did not allow the Canadian-based Romanian Bute to settle.

‘The Cobra’ eventually stopped the champion in the fifth round with an incredible onslaught that proved far too much for an overwhelmed and well beaten Bute.

Bute, who came into the fight with an unbeaten record in 31 fights, was making his first venture outside of North America and was undoubtedly facing his toughest opponent yet in the form of Froch, with many observers questioning Bute’s somewhat protected status.

Froch started positively in the opening round, keeping a glove in Bute’s face to keep the travelling champion at bay but received a short warning from referee Earl Brown for hitting on the break.

Bute was seeking to utilise a southpaw jab and caught Froch with a good combination but Froch was in control.

Froch was increasingly cagey and clever in the second, dominating the centre of the ring and leading Bute in with the jab, which was AWOL in his last bout against American Andre Ward in the Super Six final last December.

Froch then stung Bute with a sharp right hand, left hook combination that clearly hurt Bute who hung on to Froch to see out the round.

Bute was visibly surprised by Froch’s assault and was the clear favourite going into the fight but Froch has a knack for tearing up the script.

Froch then immediately went back to work on his wounded prey, circling Bute like a vulture as he teed off on the Romanian with clinical hooks and uppercuts, with Bute legs wobbling.

Bute was taking a lot of punishment and hanging on for dear life but was not beaten yet. Froch even managed to stop for breath at stages to look for a finisher.

Once again, Bute was caught with incessant combinations that forced him to retreat, with the Nottingham crowd on their feet waiting for the impending knockdown.

The fourth round saw both men trade in the centre of the ring, with Froch coming off the better of the two, catching Bute with a powerful right followed up by a flurry of punches.

Bute managed to stay on his feet and fired back with shots of his own, bravely trying to remain in the fight.

Froch, however, had Bute on the ropes again and a merciless left hook to the head shook Bute to his boots, with the champion luckily saved by the bell.

Bute looked anxious and unbalanced when he rose from his corner stool for the fifth and walked right into Froch’s barrage of punches.

Froch then cornered Bute, unloading repeatedly with sickening blows that sent Bute’s head rocking back and forward, forcing the champion down with only the ropes holding him up.
The referee stepped in and it had appeared he had stopped the fight but instead delivered a standing count.

However, Bute’s team stepped in to spare their fighter any further punishment.

The arena came unglued as Froch reigned supreme with Froch’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, sprinting into the ring and lifting his new champion aloft.

In theory Hearn could have risked a disqualification as the ref was still counting but that certainly did not matter to anyone in Nottingham.

Bute, who had a cut under his eye, showed tremendous sportsmanship applauding Froch and his team on a well-earned and dominant victory.

Froch’s performance now undoubtedly ranks amongst the finest displays in the history of British boxing, along with the likes of Joe Calzaghe’s victory over Jeff Lacy and Ricky Hatton’s inspired performance against Kosta Tszyu.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Froch said: “After the Andre Ward fight I was very, very deflated. I was here to put right a wrong. I was more determined than ever.

“I was very switched on, focused and determined. I came here to do a job.

“I’ve been guilty of switching off in the past but I felt like a million dollars. I was on it. A lot of people wrote me off . I was here to put on a show.

“But I still have the desire. I had to prove to myself. If I lost I was going to announce my retirement. It was my last chance tonight.”

Carl Froch proved in Nottingham that he can never be written off, those who questioned his ability at this level and his age have now been silenced.

Arguably, Froch is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated fighters in British boxing history.

However, the stars and his peers were out in force as fighters such as David Haye, Darren Barker, Tony Bellew, Kell Brook and Amir Khan were on hand to show their support.

As was legendary England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, who even carried undercard star Carl Frampton’s belts into the ring.

Froch has now brought back some pride to British boxing in 2012, after what was undoubtedly a dismal 2011.

Rematches with Ward and Mikkel Kessler are now firmly in Froch’s site but there is a rematch clause with Bute in Montreal.

However, it is unlikely Bute will want to take up this option after taking such a beating the first time round.

It was a stellar night for British boxing and now Carl Froch has reclaimed his title as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

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