IBF orders Froch to face Groves in rematch
The IBF have ordered their super-middleweight champion Carl Froch (32-2) to face George Groves (19-1) in a rematch in the next 90 days - or face being stripped of his belt.
The pair were involved in a classic world title fight in November which ultimately culminated in Froch retaining his IBF belt via a controversial ninth-round stoppage.
Londoner Groves, 25, launched an appeal against the decision taken by referee Howard Foster Jr and told Sky Sports: "The fact I'm mandatory now is the most important thing. As long as myself and Carl want this fight, the fight will take place.
"If he doesn't want this fight, then the fight won't take place but I'll still fight for a world title. That's what's most important to me - fighting for a world title. I want to fight Carl Froch but to a certain degree, that's out of my hands.
"He certainly doesn't like me, that's the perception I have so far. I neither like or dislike anyone who I'm about to fight. I'm emotionless. If he was in another division, then no I don't think I'd like him because I don't like his attitude or the things he says. He's just not my cup of tea."
Matchroom Sport supremo Eddie Hearn, who promoted the first fight between the pair, appeared to support Groves' assertion while maintaining that the ruling would have little impact on Froch's options.
Hearn added via social media: "More updates.. IBF call for rematch for Froch v Groves..doesn't change much re CF's options but still hopeful of agreeing terms with GG."
He then told Sky Sports later on Friday: "We still have two options. There are twists and turns every hour in this story and the fight just keeps growing and growing.
"We made a big offer yesterday which was rejected. Hopefully we can speak to him continuously over the weekend and try and get the fight made. I'm very aware of how big the fight is and the demand for it from the British public."
Froch, 36, has remained relatively quiet on his next move until now with Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev all mentioned as potential opponents - but former WBC middleweight king Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has now emerged as the most likely candidate.
The Nottingham fighter said in a statement released on Friday: "There has been plenty of speculation over the last few weeks regarding my future. As it stands we are looking closely at two options George Groves and Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
"Yesterday, we made a seven figure offer to George Groves for a second fight that would have seen him earn around double that of the first. Disappointingly, George rejected this offer so we are continuing our talks with Top Rank and HBO regarding Chavez Jnr.
"I understand the demand for the Groves fight in the UK, but also the demand in the US for the Chavez fight. Talks are ongoing and no doubt some further news will break soon. I'm happy to fight anyone, as I have done throughout my entire career."
Groves, however, returned fire in the war of words, responding with a statement that read: "I am unsure why Carl Froch has today (24/01/14) released a statement implying I do not wish to take the fight, as I was under the impression we are still in negotiations.
"I am currently awaiting an improved offer from his promoter, as well as speaking to other promoters interested in promoting this fight."