Carl Froch stopped Lucian Bute in the fifth round in his hometown Saturday night to claim the IBF super-middleweight title.
The popular Nottingham resident, a two-time former WBC champion, was regarded as the underdog heading into the contest against the unbeaten Bute, the Romanian-born Canadian who was making his 10th title defense.
The 34-year-old Froch improved to 29-2 with his 20th knockout. He lost his WBC title to Andre Ward at the Super Six World Boxing Classic in December.
”After the Andre Ward defeat I was very deflated. I was here tonight to put right a wrong,” Froch said. ”I came here more determined than I’ve ever been before. … I’ve been guilty of switching off in the past but tonight I’ve been very focused.”
The 32-year-old Bute (30-1) had held the IBF title since beating Colombia’s Alejandro Berrio in 2007.
Froch was the aggressor early on in his first home bout in three years, striking first in the opening round and finishing the second emphatically with a right-hand, left-hook combination.
Bute landed two counter lefts in the third round but looked wobbly as Froch continued his attack.
Both fighters traded jabs in the fourth round before Froch delivered a powerful right and followed with 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 deliver the count.