- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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For all those who continue to push the ignorant and lazy “boxing is dead” narrative, how does this fit with your tall tale?
Tickets for Carl Froch’s super middleweight title defense against British countryman George Groves went on sale on Tuesday and all 18,000 sold out in 11 minutes, according to Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn.
Tuesday was the same day that Froch (31-2, 22 KOs) and Groves (19-0, 15 KOs) met face-to-face for the kickoff news conference to promote the Nov. 23 showdown at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
“Every time I hear that tickets have sold so fast I have to pinch myself,” said Froch, whose May 25 rematch with Mikkel Kessler at London’s O2 Arena was also a sellout. “To fill an arena that's not in my hometown, but still in a fantastic fighting city like Manchester, it's humbling and I'm really looking forward to coming here and being part of this massive occasion.
“I've had some big international nights in my career against top-class opposition, but a British fight always gets the blood flowing as the rivalry is more intense. You all know what I'm about and what I'm capable of. You've seen it time and time again against elite-level opposition. I always turn up fully prepared and ready for battle for whoever is in the opposite corner, the fans are in for a real treat and they can look forward to a really exciting night.”
This will be, by far, the biggest stage Groves has ever been on.
“I'm thrilled to be part of this massive night,” he said. “It's a true honor to fight for a world title and to take on a well-established world champion like Carl Froch. I'm not surprised that the fight has sold this fast as British boxing is on a high and this is one of the biggest fights we're going to see in the next few years.
“It's 100 percent my time and I cannot wait to get in there and prove to everyone that this is a fight that I am more than ready for and I cannot wait to be world champion.”
Also on Tuesday, Hearn announced that lightweight Anthony Crolla had signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport and will appear on the Froch-Groves undercard.
Crolla (26-4-1, 9 KOs), who is from Manchester, is coming off the best win of his career, a decision against former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees on June 29.