Wednesday 23 July 2014

 
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Carl Froch

Carl Froch rewrote the script when won the IBF super-middleweight belt and became a three-time World champion when he beat the previously unbeaten Lucian Bute in Nottingham on May 26.

The 34-year-old cemented his status as Britain’s number one fighter by winning by TKO in the fifth round of an absorbing contest in front of his roaring fans in the Capital FM Arena. Even though he went into the fight as the underdog, Froch fought with no fear taking every round and making the Romanian-born Canadian look average.

Bute came to the UK to fight away from home for the first time since 2004 with an impressive record of 30-0 which included 24 KOs. But he couldn't handle the constant, aggressive, attacking of the Cobra who had him on the ropes numerous times in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. The bout was eventually called off by the referee sparking jubilant scenes inside the arena, with promoter Eddie Hearn celebrating in the ring with the new champion.

"It was all or nothing," Froch told Sky Sports. "If I'd have lost tonight, I would have announced my retirement, that's how close it was. But with a performance like that, I'm just so excited about the future it's unbelievable."

That night in Nottingham was the perfect response to his previous fight, when he lost to Andre Ward an December 17. The Cobra fell short in his quest to be crowned the Super Middleweight king when he lost to the American in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in Atlantic City.

That battle was the last of a thrilling sequence of contests for the Nottingham star that lesser competitors would shy away from in the ultra-competitive Super-Middleweight division.

Froch first picked up the WBC Super Middleweight belt in a fantastic fight in his hometown against Canadian Jean Pascal in December 2008, taking the points decision in a brutal brawl. Four months later the Nottingham man then announced himself to the American public with a stunning performance in Connecticut defending his title against Jermain Taylor.

Pre-fight, Taylor mockingly asked ‘who is Carl Froch?’ and the former undisputed champion enjoyed early joy against Froch, seating him for the first time in his career in the third round. But Froch staged a dramatic turnaround in the very final round, knowing he needed to deliver a knockout and doing exactly that, with a barrage of punches felling the Arkansas man once before the referee stepped in to stop the contest with 14 seconds remaining.

Froch joined five other Super Middleweight stars in the Super Six and began against Andre Dirrell in Nottingham in November 2009 and edged a tough split decision to retain his WBC belt and get his first points on the board.

Next up for The Cobra was a trip to Denmark five months later to face Mikkel Kessler, who had just lost his WBA belt to Ward. Both men enjoyed periods of success in an entertaining contest, but it was Kessler who took the unanimous decision and Froch’s belt as he tasted defeat for the first time in his career.

Froch had to wait seven months to bounce back and he took his chance with great style, turning on the performance of his career to reclaim the then vacant WBC belt against Arthur Abraham. Froch ventured into the adopted backyard of his opponent, taking on the former IBF champ in Helsinki and producing a masterclass to regain his title and taking every round on two judges’ cards, dropping just one round on the other.

His reward for the win was a semi-final meeting with Glen Johnson at the Boardwalk Hall in June. Johnson had replaced Kessler and knocked out Allan Green to reach the last four, and Froch kept the teak tough veteran at bay to reach the final through a majority decision

As an amateur, Froch picked up a bronze medal at the 2001 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland, before turning over to the professional game alongside his current trainer Robert McCracken, who will guide the Great Britain boxing team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Froch picked up his first professional title in his tenth fight with a seventh round stoppage over Alan Page netting him the English Super-Middleweight belt in November 2003. Further honours followed quickly as he added the Commonwealth title in April 2004 and then the British title came in his second defence of his Commonwealth strap. In total, Froch held the British title for over four years and the Commonwealth title for just under two years, defending the former three times and the latter four times before relinquishing both to move to World level.

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