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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 23:58 GMT
Cobra ready to strike
By Ed King

Few young fighters in recent years have generated the excitement that new English super-middleweight champion Carl Froch caused when he arrived on the scene.

The 26-year-old, who picked up the title after defeating Alan Page on Friday, enjoyed a successful amateur career, culminating in a bronze medal at the world championships, a first for any English boxer.

Froch is billed for great things in the ring

Froch turned professional in 2002, joining Mick Hennessy's "Real class of 2002" under the supervision of Howard Eastman's trainer Robert McCracken.

McCracken has worked hard with the Nottingham-born fighter at their Hackney base, and believes his charge is ready to take on the world's best.

But while Froch's punching speed and power has never been in question, doubts were cast over his defence during recent fights against Vage Kocharyan and Valery Odin.

Yet neither man came close to knocking him down, and Froch himself argues that while both fights taught him a lot, he will not be changing his style.

"Although I get a lot of stick about my defence, if you look at the Odin fight all I did for the first five rounds was defend - I didn't get hit once," he says.

"I had a wild man standing in front of me swinging big punches trying to take me out and I didn't get touched once.

"The Kocharyan fight was a good experience too - he was very strong and I did get caught with a couple of punches - but only a couple.

The best sparring I've had has been with Howard Eastman
Carl Froch

"I don't get hit often, so when I do take one or two shots it's a big thing. But it has tightened my defence up a bit and got me thinking more when I'm attacking.

"Instead of being a little bit open as I have been in the past I'm now in my unit, tucked in behind my shoulder and confident I won't get caught."

Another bonus from the Kocharyan fight was that it went eight rounds, previously he had only been to six, and Froch says he is happy to go the distance rather than look for an early knockout.

But in as much as going the rounds and facing hardened eastern Europeans is all part of the learning process, so is his time in training sparring with European champion Howard Eastman.

"The best sparring I've had has been with Howard," he says. "It's so technical and the man is so skilled - people don't see those when he fights.

"He goes forward, uses his brute strength and he has an unbelievable chin as well; I've learnt a lot off him and Rob McCracken

"Rob has so much experience and I have a lot of faith in the stuff he teaches me - everything about training at the moment is boosting my confidence."

Born: 2/7/1977
Class: Super middleweight
Record: W9 L0 D0 (7 KO)
Alias: The Cobra
Trainer: Rob McCracken

Billed as one of British boxing's new stars, Froch at 26 is reaching the point where the public will expect him to go out and beat the best.

He is keen to reach the top via the "old-fashioned" route, picking up domestic titles before taking on the world, and says his first target is the British Lonsdale belt.

"Winning that title has been a dream of mine for a while, and I'd like to have a crack at it early in 2004," he says.

"I'd have to defend it three times, and from then I'll be looking at Commonwealth, European and major world honours when I'm at my physical peak."

Froch believes he could fight the current European Champion Sven Ottke tomorrow and win, but his age means his main rival in the coming years will be the likes of USA's Jeff Lacy.

None of these contenders fill "The Cobra" with fear, and he remains adamant that provided he continues to train hard and maintain his concentration, his potential is limitless.

"I don't worry about any of those guys, they're all human - and as far as I'm concerned I'm superhuman," he says.

"I have so much ability and talent and I never cut corners in training - Roy Jones is my idol and like him everything I do has to be perfect."

The Fight game
30 Jan 03  |  Boxing
The real class of 2002
03 Dec 02  |  Grandstand

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