The super middleweight title rematch between Carl Froch and challenger George Groves on May 31 at Wembley Stadium in England was already going to be one of the biggest fights in British boxing history. Now it is going to be even bigger.
Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn initially set the capacity for the fight at 60,000 and it sold out in about an hour. So on Tuesday, Hearn announced that an additional 20,000 seats would be opened at Wembley for the fight, bringing the capacity to 80,000. It is expected to sell out, which would set the British record and make it one of the biggest attendances in boxing history.
Julio Cesar Chavez's junior welterweight title defense against Greg Haugen at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in 1993 set the all-time attendance record of 132,274, who watched as national hero Chavez stop Haugen in the fifth round.
"It's fantastic that we have managed to ensure even more fans will be in Wembley for this monumental occasion," Hearn said. "We have worked hard with the (city) council, Wembley and Transport for London and I am delighted that we have come to an agreement to get as many fans as possible into the stadium to create an incredible atmosphere."
Hearn said a date for the tickets to go on sale and process "will be made soon."
Froch-Groves II is rematch of Froch's highly disputed ninth-round knockout of Groves on Nov. 23, which took place before a sold-out crowd of 21,000 at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
It was an action-packed fight that ended with Froch being awarded a highly controversial victory. Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) knocked Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) down with a right hand in the first round, dominated the fight and was ahead on all three scorecards going into the ninth round. In the ninth round, Froch hurt Groves, but while Groves was firing back -- and he had not been knocked down -- referee Howard John Foster shockingly stopped the fight, causing an uproar. Even many of Froch's own fans criticized the stoppage.
In the weeks following the fight, Froch refused to entertain a rematch, but Groves appealed to the IBF for one. The appeal was heard and the IBF, which reviewed the fight video, ordered a sequel based on what it called "inappropriate conduct" of the referee.
Froch then reconsidered his stance on the rematch and finally made a deal just ahead of the IBF-imposed deadline for a purse bid.
The fight will be televised on HBO in the United States and on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom.