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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 May, 2004, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
The Cobra ready to strike
By Ben Dirs

Carl Froch

Scientists searching for an alternative to fossil fuels should look at converting the hot air of boxers into a viable energy source.

Fighters expel more than exponents of any other sport - but when Carl Froch speaks, people tend to listen and people tend to believe what he says.

Steely and matter-of-fact, the Commonwealth super middleweight champion is part of an exciting wave of British talent set to swell on the world scene over the next two years.

More encouraging for Froch, the 12 stone division is a fading canvas what with the retirement of Sven Ottke and the weightier ambitions of Wales' Joe Calzaghe.

"There are not many big names out there so it's open for me to step in and take over," says the 26-year-old.

"I want to mop up the domestic scene first - win the British title, defend it three times and win that Lonsdale belt.

"Then once I've won the European title I'll become recognised in the top 10 world rankings by the WBC, WBA and IBF.

"All I'll be doing then is awaiting my turn for a world title shot. Then I'll probably be at the top for a few years."

Froch won the Commonwealth crown in March with a points victory over Ghana's Charles Adamu in only his 12th professional fight.

FROCH FACT FILE
Born: 02/07/1977
Turned pro: 16/03/2002
Division: Super middleweight
Record: 12(9)-0
Style: Orthodox
Alias: The Cobra
Trainer: Robert McCracken
Managers: Mick Hennessy

But the British title will have to wait after Tony Dodson pulled out of their 2 June clash following a car accident.

The Nottingham stylist will now defend his title against Canada's Mark Woolnough, a former national champion who has won his last eight bouts and boasts a record of 14(3)-3-1.

The enmity between Froch and Dodson was clear and the withdrawal is frustrating for Froch and for British fight fans looking forward to a good old-fashioned grudge match at the Nottingham Arena.

But the undefeated Froch refuses to be downcast and positive force that he is, intends to suck all the marrow from his next encounter.

"Woolnough is a southpaw and a North American southpaw at that. Beating him will give me a lot of experience

"I understand he is also a boxer-mover and that could be very beneficial as there is the possibility I could be boxing another one in Matthew Barney for the British title in the near future."

In contrast to the global scene, the domestic super middleweight ranks are vibrant, with Dodson, Barney, Robin Reid and Brian Magee all in operation.

Unlike Ulsterman Magee, holder of the IBO bauble, Froch is adamant he will not be sidetracked by one of the many lesser-known belts on offer.

Jeff Lacy
Jeff Lacy has 13 knockouts from 16 fights

"Without taking any respect away from other fighters, I wouldn't box for a fringe world title - I'd rather retire. They're pointless titles and don't earn you any respect from other fighters."

Fighters like Jeff Lacy, the 27-year-old American tipped to be the fighter to beat at super middleweight over the next few years.

In the meantime, Froch continues to spin his career on these shores, buoyed, not bowed, by the support of his hometown fans and his loyal team.

"I don't feel pressure. When people like Robert McCracken (Froch's trainer) build me up, I feel privileged, it makes me more confident.

"And I love fighting at the Arena in front of my home crowd - 5,000 people coming to see me and it's only going to get bigger.

"There's nobody who sells more tickets than me apart from Ricky Hatton. If I can keep expanding and the BBC keep pushing me I'll become a massive star."



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