Nottingham

Carl Froch: Nottingham's boxing legend retires

Carl Froch in Nottingham's Market Square Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carl Froch made a number of public appearances in Nottingham, including in the city's Market Square

Nottingham boxer Carl Froch has announced his retirement from the sport which has seen him crowned world champion four times.

Froch, 38, who was appointed an MBE in June, won 33 of his 35 fights, with 24 victories by knockout.

Throughout his career, he has championed his home city, and will be remembered as one of its greatest sportsmen.

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Image caption Carl Froch poses prior to a fight with Ruben Groenewald at the The Lennox Lewis Centre on November 9, 2005, in London

Froch, who was born in 1977, grew up just outside Nottingham, in the village of Gedling.

His affinity to the city was clear for all to see when he arrived in the ring for his first fight at the Nottingham Arena, in 2003, wearing a Nottingham Forest shirt.

He also wore the club badge on his shorts throughout the rest of his career.

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Image caption Carl Froch lost his first fight against Mikkel Kessler, in Denmark

It was also in Nottingham that Froch won his first world title - the WBC belt - against Canadian fighter Jean Pascal, in 2008.

However, two years later he lost it to Mikkel Kessler, in Denmark, only to win it back again from Arthur Abraham, in Finland.

Image caption Carl Froch poses with a Nottingham flag, and BBC Radio Nottingham's Robin Chipperfield, in Atlantic City, in 2011

After fights in the US, Froch returned to Nottingham and, in front of thousands of adoring fans, won the IBF world title against Lucian Bute in what critics have hailed as his "most complete performance".

Froch was desperate for a rematch against Kessler to take place at the City Ground, the home of Nottingham Forest.

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Image caption Carl Froch celebrates winning the IBF title in a bout against Lucian Bute at the Nottingham Arena in May 2012
Image caption Carl Froch and partner Rachael Cordingley attended the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Glasgow, in December

However, the O2 Arena was the agreed venue and it was there that Froch unified the IBF and WBA titles.

He retained both in fights against George Groves, with the second bout fought at Wembley in front of a record-breaking crowd of about 80,000, in what Froch described as his "defining moment".

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Image caption Froch dressed as a "God of war" ahead of his rematch against Mikkel Kessler
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carl Froch is knocked down by George Groves during their IBF and WBA title fight in November 2013
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Image caption Carl Froch knocks out George Groves during the IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight Title Fight at Wembley in May 2014

His exploits and affinity to Nottingham won him the accolade of becoming an honorary freeman of of the city, in September.

He had already been made an honorary freeman of birthplace Gedling in 2009, and in the same year was given an official reception by the city council, an honour previously given to the likes of Brian Clough and Torvill and Dean.

When he was awarded the honour last year, deputy leader of the city council, Graham Chapman, said: "Carl is very proud of the city and whenever there's any publicity nationally he's 'Carl Froch from Nottingham' - he's managed to brand his name along with that of the city."

He has supported several city charities, including NORSACA, which supports families with autistic children and appeals for cancer wards at local hospitals.

He said: "This city, I was born and raised, I'm bringing my two children up in Nottingham... my whole life, everything revolves around the city.

"This is where I belong."

BBC Radio Nottingham's Robin Chipperfield said: "After the collapse of his dream of fighting in Las Vegas in March, retirement always appeared the most likely option for Froch.

"One of the most admired boxers the UK has ever seen, and a man who championed Nottingham as he fought around the world, he'll be remembered as one of the city's greatest ever sportsmen."

It hasn't all been sweetness and light - in 2012 Nottingham's Capital FM Arena apologised after a Froch open air weigh-in disturbed nearby student exams.

Fans will miss him in the ring but are sure to see him around his hometown for some time to come.

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Image caption Carl Froch poses with son Rocco ahead of his workout at Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in May 2014
Image caption Carl Froch's fame has led to him participating in shows like BBC's celebrity gymnastics contest Tumble

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