George Groves suffered a heartbreaking defeat after a controversial referee stoppage denied him claiming the IBF and WBA world titles in Manchester on Saturday night.
In a stunning start to the fight, Groves floored Froch heavily and was dominating the contest until the WBA and IBF champion hurt the challenger with a determined assault in the ninth.
Groves was on unsteady legs, but referee Howard Foster stepped in far too swiftly to signal the end of a thrilling super-middleweight clash.
Froch had struggled to cope with the younger man's speed and appeared to be heading for defeat, with all three judges scoring the fight in Groves' favour, before victory was snatched away in contentious fashion.
"He caught me with a good shot, but that should never have been a stoppage," Groves told Sky Sports Box Office.
"If you look, probably near enough every round beforehand I had Carl buzzed and buzzed much heavier, and because he's got this warrior image I think he got the benefit of the doubt a lot of the time. Because, for some reason I've got this chinny image, it was stopped prematurely in my opinion."
There was plenty of bad blood in the build-up, but there was a mutual respect between the two rivals after the fight.
"I would just like to say I've got immense respect for Carl Froch. I have done in the whole build-up. I think now he would respect me a little bit more after my performance tonight.
"I tried to shake his hand right at the end and he wasn't interested. He cooled down for a little bit and then he came and he spoke and he said some kind words.
"I had to come in and upset Carl Froch, tell him the truth, and I told you what was going to happen in the first three rounds. We can watch it back, we know what happened and now I'm getting cheered. I'm getting cheered in front of all these amazing fans. I'm so proud to come in and give this display and for all these people to believe in me.
"I know I'm going to be a great fighter and I feel I had it taken away from me tonight unjustly. I'll be back. I'll be back fitter and stronger. Eddie needs to make this happen. I'm just gutted, I'm truly gutted."
Promoter Eddie Hearn paid tribute to both fighters after a thrilling battle and suggested that Groves will get another shot at Froch.
"George, he was sensational, you know I think he shocked everyone by his performance," said Hearn.
"But for Carl, you are talking about a man who dug so deep. He looked beaten in the first round.
"He went down. I've never seen him down like that before. George Groves did that. For these two guys to go at it like they did. The rematch is the one that makes sense. I think everyone would love to see it."