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Boxing | International

Carl Froch and Lucian Bute © Gallo Images

Froch stops Bute in fifth



Carl Froch stopped Lucian Bute in the fifth round in Nottingham on Saturday night to claim the IBF super-middleweight title.

The 34-year-old Briton’s comfortable victory over the unbeaten Romanian made him a three-time world champion after his two WBC title wins.

Froch, whose record is now 29-2, including 21 knockouts, started brightly and had the 32-year-old Bute in trouble in the third round and again late in the fourth, roared on by a raucous home crowd.

Bute, who came into the fight with a 30-0 record, including 24 knockouts, was caught by a right hand in the fifth before a flurry of punches from Froch culminated in another right that forced Bute to hang on to the ropes.

Referee Earl Brown started a standing count but Bute's corner came into the ring to save the Canada-based fighter from further punishment.

"I came here more determined than I've ever been before," Froch told Sky Sports. "I've been guilty of switching off in the past but tonight I was very focused."

Froch was fighting for the first time since losing in the final of the Super Six tournament against Andre Ward in December.

PUTTING RIGHT A WRONG

SAPA-AP reports that Froch, who had lost his WBC title to Andre Ward in the Super Six series last December, said: "After that defeat I was deflated. I was here tonight to put right a wrong."

The 32-year-old Bute had held the IBF title since he beat Colombia's Alejandro Berrio in 2007.

Froch was the aggressor early on in his first home bout in three years.

Bute landed two counter lefts in the third round but looked wobbly as Froch continued his attack.

They traded jabs in the fourth round before Froch delivered a powerful right, followed by a flurry of punches. Bute was saved by the bell as Froch landed a fierce left hook to end the round.

The Canadian looked timid and unsteady as the fifth round got under way. Froch then connected with a right that rocked Bute's head back and several more punches that pushed Bute against the ropes, prompting referee Earl Brown to start counting.

The popular Nottingham resident was regarded as the underdog against Bute, who was fighting his first bout outside North America and Romania, reports Sapa-AP.

THOBELA AND THYSSE

RON JACKSON writes that Bute had never really been extended since making his professional debut in November 2003.

He had beaten two South Africans, Dingaan Thobela and Andre Thysse. He won the vacant WBC super-middleweight title in June 2008 when he beat Jean Pascal over 12 rounds.

He retained the belt against Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrrell before losing it to Mikkel Kessler in April 2010.

Froch also beat Arthur Abraham in November 2010 in a clash for the vacant WBC belt. He retained it against Glen Johnson before losing the title to WBA “super” super-middleweight champion Andre Ward in December last year.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

On the undercard, Carl Frampton beat Raul Hirales by 119-109 on two cards and 120-108 over twelve rounds to take the vacant IBF intercontinental super-bantamweight belt.

The undefeated Frampton improved his record to 14-0, with nine knockouts. Hirales lost for the first time and now stands at 16-1-1; 8.

Junior welterweight Pier Olivier Cote moved to 19-0; 13 when he stopped Mark Lloyd (15-6; 3) in the fifth round.

In Brentwood, England, former heavyweight hope Audley Harrison stopped Ali Adams in the fourth round.

Making a comeback after a disappointing professional career, the former Olympic Games champion improved his record to 28-5; 21. Adams, who was knocked down in the fourth round, dropped to 13-4-1; 5.



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