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Froch pondered quitting after defeat
Carl Froch delivered a performance of devastating brutality to snatch Lucian Bute's IBF super-middleweight title before revealing he had considered retiring after losing his previous fight.
The popular Nottingham 34-year-old was regarded as the underdog heading into the contest with unbeaten Romanian Bute, who was making a rare foray outside of his Canadian stronghold. But Froch proved that defeat to Andre Ward last time out was not the end for him, stopping the stunned Bute in the fifth round.
"If I didn't win tonight, I would have been left questioning my future in the sport. I may have even thought about announcing my retirement. But I'm so far from that after that performance because it was so clinical and devastating," he said afterwards.
The win means Froch adds the IBF crown to the WBC belt he has held twice in the past. The boxer, whose record read 28-2 with 20 early wins coming into the fight, admitted in the build-up to the contest that he had much to prove after losing to Ward in the Super Six tournament final in America before Christmas.
He was at least able to rely on home support for the first time in three years after a daunting run of fights on foreign soil while Bute, 30-0 with 24 knockouts before this, also wanted to answer his critics who questioned his unblemished but untested record.
Froch said: "My decade of training as a professional with my trainer Robert McCracken has come together tonight and it had to, because after the devastating defeat to Andre Ward I was left questioning my future in the sport.
"The desire has never been in question because I've always wanted to win the four belts and become a legend and remain at the top of the game until I get sick of it. I'm not sick of it yet. I still love boxing, I still love getting up in the morning and running, I love seeing my body change over the training camp.
"All that tonight has been brought to a head with this win. A lot of people, who are entitled to their opinion, had a lot to say. There's been a lot of negativity floating around but that drives me on and fuels me. But I did this tonight for myself."
Froch was measured but aggressive from the off, though Bute landed a strong southpaw left in the second as Froch jabbed his way in successfully. But Froch won the second round too, finishing it emphatically with a right hand, left hook combination which hurt Bute.
Froch mercilessly marched forward and Bute had become timid and unsteady when the fifth round got under way. A right hand rocked his head back sickeningly and another, after several unanswered shots, forced him down with only the ropes holding him up.