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With 33 career wins and only 2 losses, Carl Froch boasts an almost immaculate record. Known for his granite chin and aggressive style, the man from Nottingham became a three-time super-middleweight world champion. His crowning jewel was beating George Groves in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium, in what turned out to be the final match of his career. Grosvenor Casinos caught up with the man himself to talk about everything from pre-fight rituals to Joshua v Klitschko.
What music rocks your boat?
“Motown and soul, can’t fault it. I’ve got quite a wide selection, big genre of music, but motown and Soul – great choice, I’ll go with that one.”
After that historic fight at Wembley, would you ever consider returning to the ring?
“Absolutely not, I’ve been retired now for 3 years. I’ve retired with my brain cells intact and it’ll be those brain cells that keep me out of the ring so no, I’m happily retired”.
What career path would you have followed if you hadn’t of become a boxer?
“I’d have definitely joined the army, 100 per cent. I was close to joining, I was looking at the police force but didn’t quite like the interview process. I was looking at the army. Something I’m thinking of revisiting actually, I’m doing a bit of army training now but that’s another story. If I didn’t box I’d have been in the army”.
Did you have any pre-fight rituals?
“No superstition at all for boxing. Don’t put my left glove on before my right glove. Some lads in the changing room like to do their boots a certain way, or wrap their hands half an hour before they put their gloves on and don’t want to wear their gloves before they do their pads. I just got on with it. When I turned up in the changing room fit and ready, mentally switched on, doesn’t matter when the gloves go on, what kit I’ve got on, what towel I’ve got. I’ve always got my gum shield, that’s the one made by the dentist that fits, I lost my last one at Wembley and I couldn’t care less. So no, I’m not superstitious at all.
Which of your Nottingham fights did you enjoy the most?
“It has to be the Lucian Bute fight. That was the IBF title fight after losing to Andre Ward in America, after two years on the road. It was satisfying to say the least, to come back and beat Lucian Bute for the IBF title and become a three-time world champion”.
Out of everyone you fought, who gave you the hardest punch?
“Robin Reid hit me with an overhand right in about round 5 and I didn’t know where I was. I can remember walking back to my corner when the bell went. The bell saved me actually. I was actually looking at the corner facing the right direction, but I was walking off and I ended up bouncing off the ropes and then sort of slumping onto my stool because he came with a big shot. I’ve fought with some big punches and I’ve been hit with a lot of shots. I’m known for having quite a hard chin, I can take a punch but that one for me stands out with Robin Reidy. He came with a real bellower of a shot, overhand right straight on the chin.
Do you have any career regrets?
No career regrets, I’ve retired a world champion, I avenged my loss with Mikkel Kessler and the controversy that surrounded the first fight with George Groves which created a lot of animosity, got settled at Wembley. I’ve just retired on the crest of the wave that was Wembley Stadium. I look back on my career with great pride and absolutely no regrets at all.
Can you tell us how you were feeling, and about the atmosphere at Wembley in front of 80,000 people?
The atmosphere was amazing, and how I was feeling felt the same for most fights, just focused, in the zone, concentrating, and I think more so for the Wembley one. I had quite a lot of sport psychologists who keep my head straight because George Groves wound me up so much in the first fight. I was almost in a hypnotic state at Wembley, it wasn’t until I watched it back that I realised how big the event was and how amazing it was. On the actual fight night, ring walk, I was just tunnel vision. Just seek and destroy.
Joshua or Klitschko?
Anthony Joshua should win because he’s younger, he’s fresher, and I think youth will always prevail in a sport when everything else is equal. What I mean by that is they’re both very tall, they’re both big, they’re both strong, they both punch hard, they can both box. Joshua’s got a young man’s engine. It’s one of the reasons I retired because I was tapping on 37 years old and I could feel it and it’s hard. He’s 42, I think Klitschko should probably already be retired. The danger that Anthony Joshua’s got is Klitschko’s got a vast amount of experience and Joshua’s really, really inexperienced as a professional. I know he’s world champion but what’s he had, sixteen, seventeen fights? He’s not really fought anybody. His toughest fight was against Dillian Whyte. He’s British level at the minute. So I think Joshua should win, but don’t be surprised if Klitschko makes him look like a naïve, inexperienced, early up starter: which he is. I think he’ll come again if he loses, but I’m not going to give you a prediction on who wins and who loses. It can go either way. I think Klitschko can win the fight, but I think Joshua will do it, but I can see how he loses. It’s a tough one to call.