SPORTS

Canada's Lucian Bute loses IBF title after being stopped in the fifth round

05/26/2012 07:44 EDT | Updated 07/26/2012 05:12 EDT
NOTTINGHAM, England - Carl Froch stuck to his game plan on Saturday — and the result was a resounding victory over Canada's Lucian Bute that left the English boxer the new IBF super-middleweight world champion.

"I executed the plan to a tee," Froch said after his fifth-round victory over the previously undefeated Romanian native.

"The plan in fact was just to listen to (coach) Rob McCracken. I listened to him during the fight, as I listened to him for the entire 12 weeks of training camp."

That strategy involved staying balanced and avoiding getting hit repeatedly with consecutive punches.

On both scores, he was successful.

Froch's victory in his hometown of Nottingham leaves the new champion undefeated in more than 20 fights on English soil.

Bute, who had defended his title nine times since winning it in 2007, was outclassed by the hard-punching Froch (29-2-0, 21 knockouts).

The referee stopped the fight with Bute (30-1-0, 24 knockouts) slumping against the ropes after a flurry of punches from Froch.

Bute was able to get in a few punches in each round but was hammered in the third by his 34-year-old opponent.

Bute tried to keep his distance beginning in the fourth round but Froch kept on attacking, leaving the defending champion with no option but to hold on for the bell.

"I spent too much time trying to trade punches with him" Bute said.

"Even on the ropes I thought I could get out of it by surprising him with my left, but I wasn't able to."

Froch, who had taunted Bute in the run-up to the bout by saying he had never fought anyone of note, said it wasn't the cakewalk it may have appeared to be.

"Maybe it looked like an easy fight, but it wasn't an easy fight," said the victor. "The times he caught me, he did hit me hard, and I realized why he was able to knock out so many boxers."

Added Froch: "I knew that if I let him get me with consecutive hits, I'd be in trouble. But I was a man on a mission tonight. I'm built like Pac-Man. When I get punched, I eat them up like it's nothing."

Bute sounded philosophical after experiencing being defeated for the first time as a professional.

"It's my first loss, but it's not the end of the world," he said. "I'll be back. I need some rest right now, but I know I have the character to rebound.

"I lost a lot of fights as an amateur and I always came back."

Froch's victory sets up the possibility of an eventual rematch in Montreal, although the new champion's first defence of the title will likely be against another opponent.

Froch's last fight was a one-sided loss to Andre Ward in the final of Showtime's Super-Six series in December.

He said that defeat served as incentive in preparing for Saturday.

"There was a lot of negativity going around in the media about me here locally, but it fuelled me," he said.

"I wasn't myself against Ward, but that loss gave me the kick I needed to bring back the old me."

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