Froch defends IBF title

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Froch_Mack Getty Images Carl Froch knocks down Yusaf Mack during their IBF super-middleweight title fight at Nottingham Capital FM Arena.

Nottingham, United Kingdom – Carl Froch declared he is ready for rematches against Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward after an impressive first defence of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-middleweight title on Saturday.

Froch destroyed American challenger Yusaf Mack in three rounds in front of his home crowd in Nottingham, central England, for his second successive stoppage win in what is his third reign as a world champion.

The Briton dismantled Canada-based Romanian Bute in five rounds to win the IBF belt in May and a return fight has been discussed for Montreal on March 30.

Froch, 35, is also keen to avenge his points defeats to Mikkel Kessler in 2010 and to Andre Ward last year.

Froch blamed his preparation for losing to Ward, who holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) titles, but feels his demolition of Mack proves he deserves another world title unification clash with the American.

“I think I'm at my peak physically now and I can put it right against Kessler and put it right against Ward,” Froch told a press conference.

“I will be ready to fight again in March, whether it's against Bute or Adonis Stevenson. I haven't got time to waste.

“The stoppage came earlier than I expected but I don't think he was absolutely dead at the weight. The 12 weeks of training produced the result and I made it look easy.

“I believe a fight is won or lost before you step through the ropes. For the fight against Ward, I lost my focus three or four days before the fight so I had lost before it started. But in the last two fights I have switched on mentally for the fight.”

Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn says a fight against the mandatory challenger, Haiti-born Canada-based Adonis Stevenson is another possibility for Froch's next fight and is hopeful of a rematch with Ward in England.

“I spoke to Lucian Bute's promoter this week and I just can't see them willing to take the fight after that performance from Carl but contractually we are obliged to go through with it,” Hearn explained.

“We have also got to face Adonis Stevenson in a mandatory defence and if we fight Bute next we will have to ask the IBF for an extension on that fight.”

“It will be Bute or Stevenson next, followed by Kessler and Ward. I really think Ward would come to the UK and we could do it at an open air football stadium next summer.”

Mack, 32, looked destined for his fifth stoppage loss after tumbling to the canvas from a left to the jaw.

Meanwhile Froch's fellow Englishman and sparring partner Tony Bellew edged closer to world title contention with a unanimous points win over Argentina's Roberto Bolonti, but had to contend with a gruesome cut above his right eye from the third round.

Bellew, 27, had been on the verge of a stoppage win after flooring the Argentine twice before he suffered the cut that left the fight close to being halted.

But Bellew boxed smartly to avoid further damage to the eye and triumphed by scores of 120-106 twice and 119-107 to claim the fringe WBC silver light-heavyweight belt in what was also a world title eliminator.

Bellew now hopes he can take on WBC light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, of America, next year.

“I'm on the tail of Dawson and I've got no problem facing him,” Bellew said. “I think he's the best in the world and I want to step up.” – Sapa-AFP


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