Carl Froch hoping to goad George Groves into brawl

Carl Froch will defend his IBF and WBA world super-middleweight titles against George Groves later this year. Picture: Getty ImagesCarl Froch will defend his IBF and WBA world super-middleweight titles against George Groves later this year. Picture: Getty Images
Carl Froch will defend his IBF and WBA world super-middleweight titles against George Groves later this year. Picture: Getty Images
Carl Froch last night attempted to tempt George Groves into brawling when they clash later this year by demanding his ­British rival plays his part in producing a spectacle for fans.

The Matchroom stablemates will meet either in November or December at a venue to be confirmed after Froch’s efforts to secure a rematch against Andre Ward were frustrated by the brilliant American’s refusal to fight in the UK.

With a decider against Mikkel Kessler also failing to materialise, Froch has instead turned his ­attention to defending his IBF and WBA super-middleweight belts against 25-year-old Groves.

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Taking on a seasoned campaigner who has built his reputation on facing the toughest opponents is a bold move by Groves, but he was happy to engage in mind games as soon as the fight was announced at midday. The granite-chinned Froch’s strength lies in trading and the champion, 11 years the ­senior, hopes his former sparring ­partner will oblige to produce a British classic.

“George has [trainer] Adam Booth in the corner, the master tactician as he calls himself, so we’ll see what his tactics are,” Froch said.

“He’ll listen to ‘Too Smooth Booth’ and will probably get on his back foot, box and move around the ring.

“The fans want to see a fight, so do your ­moving and boxing for three or four rounds, but don’t make it a ­running and hiding mission.

“Stand and fight, because you can have a tear-up when you want one. Let’s give the fans what they want. This fight is on Sky, on pay-per-view, and I like to give the fans what they want. If George boxes the way he did against James DeGale, it won’t be very exciting.”

Groves is skillful and powerful but has proved vulnerable at times, so will keep exchanges with Froch brief. The Londoner, unbeaten in 19 fights, jumped on Froch’s comments. “It’s interesting that Carl is already asking me to conform to a certain style of boxing for this fight. He’s asked me not to move, why?” Groves said. “I have a few variations on how to approach this fight, while Carl is one dimensional and likes to walk forward and brawl. It’s worked well for him so far, but why is he ­already ­asking me to conform to a ­certain style of fighting?

“I didn’t expect to hear this much desperation this early in the build-up to the fight whereby he is adamantly pushing for me to fight one particular style.”

Groves helped Froch prepare for his first fight against ­Kessler in 2010, but then angered the Nottingham veteran when he sparred with the Dane in the build-up to May’s thrilling ­rematch.

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Froch was critical of the lack of loyalty shown by a fellow Brit, but refused to resume hostilities yesterday, despite hinting that it is a sore point. “A lot of fighters wouldn’t do it, but George chose to be ­selfish and it’s a selfish sport, so fair play to him,” said Froch, who has won all but two of his 33 fights. “We’re not best mates, we don’t socialise together. We’re promoted by the same promoter but we don’t hang out and rarely talk. He came under a lot of stick for working against a stablemate and British fighter, but it wasn’t the biggest crime of the century.”

Groves is mandatory challenger for Froch’s IBF belt and the older fighter – denied the chance to face Joe Calzaghe by the British super-middleweight great – is happy to oblige – despite misgivings over the Groves’ ranking. “Since Jean Pascal in 2008 I’ve fought the best of the best, so I won’t say no to a British fighter, regardless of whether I think he’s experienced enough or whether he’s been in with top-level opposition,” Froch said.

Meanwhile, England’s best young boxers have been left in limbo as they wait to discover if they will be allowed to ­compete in the European Schoolboy Championships in Dublin next week. The 12-strong squad could be shut out because of the provisional suspension by world governing body AIBA on the Amateur Boxing Association of England over governance.

While ABAE chiefs remain optimistic of a resolution in time for the first day of the Championships on 29 July, the boxers’ club coaches claim they are being kept in the dark. One coach, who did not wish to be named, told the Press Association: “We have not heard a thing from the governing body and as far as we are concerned the whole thing is off. Our boy is gutted after putting in so much hard work and the whole situation is very hard to take.”

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