Carl Froch defeats Arthur Abraham

HELSINKI -- Carl Froch dominated Arthur Abraham to win a near-shutout decision and the vacant WBC super middleweight title on Saturday night in the Super Six World Boxing Classic.

Two judges scored the Group Stage 3 bout 120-108 and the third had it 119-109 for England's Froch, who reclaimed the belt he lost to Mikkel Kessler by unanimous decision in an all-action fight in April. Kessler dropped out of the tournament in August, citing an eye injury and was stripped of the belt.

England's Froch (27-1, 20 KOs), 33, and Germany's Abraham (31-2, 25 KOs), 30, had already secured berths in the tournament semifinals, but Saturday's outcome finalized the pairings.

Froch, with four points, secured the second seed. He will defend his title in the semifinals against third-seeded Glen Johnson, who replaced the injured Kessler.

"I have to take one fight at a time, then it's the final. Johnson seems to be a puncher," Froch said. "I came here trying to preserve myself physically. I'm 33 and have two or three years left at this level."

Abraham and Johnson both finished the round-robin portion of the tournament with three points apiece, but Johnson won the tiebreaker, so Abraham is the fourth seed and will face top-seeded Andre Ward, who has six points.

The 6-foot-1 Froch used his superior reach, height and technical prowess to hold off Abraham. Froch punished Abraham with a stiff left jab throughout the fight and also mixed in numerous body punches, uppercuts and right hands in an all-around dominant performance.

"This ranks up there with my best performances," Froch said. "I had a long training camp with a variety of sparring and we tried to emulate the style of Abraham a bit. Now we were able to execute the game plan."

Abraham, notoriously a slow starter, never got going, managing to attack only in brief spurts.

"I wanted to hit him. I tried but I could not do it," Abraham said. "Nothing more to say."

In the sixth round, Froch appeared to score a knockdown, but American referee Frank Garza ruled it a slip.

Froch trapped Abraham on the ropes and hammered him in the eighth round. While Froch pounded away, Abraham did little other than try to hide behind his high guard.

Abraham had almost come to a standstill by the 11th round but made a desperate attack for a knockout in the last round. But Froch was unfazed and took the title home.

Ward was to defend his version of the 168-pound title later Saturday in his hometown of Oakland, Calif., against Sakio Bika in a non-tournament bout.

Both Super Six semifinal bouts are due to take place in the United States in the first half of 2011.

Information from ESPN.com's Dan Rafael and The Assosociated Press was used in this report.