The Pugilist

Froch: I’d ruin Groves if we fought today

The Pugilist

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After reflecting on past and present battles in an interview with Eurosport-Yahoo!’s boxing editor Liam Happe, Carl Froch took some time during his promotional shoot for Playstation 3 release God of War: Ascension to discuss what lies ahead for ‘The Cobra’.

[READ PART ONE OF LIAM HAPPE'S INTERVIEW WITH FROCH HERE]

One aspect of his next bout, a revenge mission rematch against Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, which could not be finalised as hoped was an initial idea to make the contest a huge summer stadium event at the home of Froch’s beloved Nottingham Forest FC, The City Ground.

Logistical issues made the idea almost impossible this time out, though the 35-year-old admitted that fighting Kessler at London’s o2 Arena instead will not only be huge, but very fair to Kessler and his fans.

And one day before he retires, Froch is determined to walk out at the 30,603 football stadium and extend his spotless hometown fight record there.

“We did want the Kessler rematch to be at the City Ground but there was a very small window of opportunity to get the fight on there,” admitted Froch.

“There were two weeks available in April and May and with no guarantees regarding weather and all the things we needed to have fall into place, it was too difficult.

“The o2 is one of the biggest venues available and it’s easily accessible for Kessler’s fans as well, which is something I really wanted. I want it to be a fair crowd and not too partisan.

“I’m not sure Mikkel fancied coming to Nottingham anyway, because it would have been too much of a partisan crowd. Had we pushed for Nottingham Forest Football Club as the venue, he may not have agreed to the rematch at all.

“So this is a win-win solution for both sides’ fans, promoters and teams at a 17-18,000 seat venue in London which sold out in hours.

“You could compare it to the first fight, too. Kessler is from Copenhagen but we fought in Herning, so there’s a degree of symmetry to the locations.”

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Froch signs autographs for fellow Forest diehards at the club superstore

Sounding out future opponents for the opportunity of a lifetime, Froch confirmed: “It would be nice to fight at Forest’s stadium before I do retire, definitely.

“I’ll take it one fight at a time but after I beat Kessler I will speak to Eddie Hearn and try to get a bout staged at the City Ground. You definitely can’t rule it out yet.”

Promoter Hearn has added a number of new charges to the Matchroom ranks in recent weeks, including fellow English super-middle George Groves.

Groves has stood out from the pack of 168lb prospects by adhering to the Froch mentality of taking on true challenges rather than seeking to protect an undefeated image at any cost.

This was most notable when he took on fierce personal rival James DeGale sooner than most promoters would have advised, leading to an epic encounter which elevated both.

Not only that, but Groves would win the fight and has retained his unblemished record since, before moving from Frank Warren to Hearn after growing frustrated with his momentum stalling at W. Promotions Limited.

Groves admitted after his first successful Matchroom bout, a comprehensive technical stoppage of Dario Balmaceda on Saturday, that his ultimate goal is to try to pry the warrior's torch from Froch's hands in the ring.

"Carl's a great fighter, we sparred together over the years but we're rivals now," Groves told Sky Sports.

"There's a possibility a fight could happen sooner rather than later. It would be awesome if I could win my own title and we could have a unification clash.

"I don't think I'll be sparring with Carl now as we're rivals. But I want Carl to beat Kessler. As a Brit I want him to win, and as a friend."

Froch told me a future clash with ‘Saint’ would be a mouth-watering domestic superfight down the line, but warned his young rival that he is nowhere near ready to share a ring with him yet.

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Groves was the first of several new signings made by Matchroom this year

He said: “It’s always good to be in domestic fights. It’s nice to challenge on an international level but people love a big domestic battle.

“But at the minute, George Groves hasn’t boxed anyone of a level where people can take him seriously.

“I take him seriously, don’t get me wrong, but the general public won’t take him seriously at my level because he hasn’t yet fought anyone there.

“If Froch v Groves was made tomorrow, most people would say – and some are already saying – that it would be a mis-match and that I would ruin him. And I would.

“So he needs to step up a level against someone like an Arthur Abraham or a Lucian Bute and prove himself against that calibre of opponent, and show he has what it takes.

“He’s been put down by Kenny Anderson and was in trouble against Paul Smith, and they were both at a domestic level. It’s a worrying sign but that doesn’t mean he won’t improve over time.

“He’s a decent young fighter and a good prospect but that’s what he is, a prospect. You don’t put a prospect in the ring with a seasoned veteran on the crest of a wave such as myself.”

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