Froch/Dodson set to battle at last

21.09.06 - One of the most eagerly anticipated British Title clashes in recent years is back on. Super middleweight champion Carl Froch will defend against long-term rival Tony Dodson on a Hennessy Sports event at the prestigious Nottingham Arena on Friday 24th November. Sky Sports will televise live. The pair have been scheduled to meet on three previous occasions, initially when Dodson was the domestic champion himself. The Liverpudlian, however, unfortunately withdrew each time due to circumstances he insists were valid. Froch went on to win and then twice defend the title.

“I heard all the rumours flying around about why I pulled out, but my reasons were genuine,” said the 26-year-old Dodson, who claimed the English title last time out with an impressive four round win over Jamie Hearn.

“I can understand Froch being frustrated by it all, I would be myself, but everything was out of my control. First time round I had a double fracture in my nose. I was getting punched by middleweights in sparring and it was agony, so I had to get it sorted. Then, when the fight was rescheduled for last summer, I had a car crash and did a lot of damage to my back..

“After that I was offered the fight for September. I was told that if I didn’t take it, I might lose my position as mandatory contender. I only got out of hospital in June and I knew it would take a massive effort to get into shape after the crash, but I thought I have got to give it 110% and give it a try.

“Three or four weeks into training I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It was a big decision to make, but I wasn’t prepared to go in against Froch at 70%. I know that I can beat him, but he’s a class act so I can’t go in there at anything less than my best.”

Dodson insists that he will be in prime condition for what he predicts will be an explosive affair.

“I’m training for the hardest fight of my life,” Dodson added. “I’m training for 12 hard rounds. I’m not saying it’s going to go 12, but I will be prepared. I’m looking to make this one of the fights of the year. It’s a genuine British Title fight that should be great to watch.

“I’m not going to make predictions about what sort of fight it will be. It’s alright to say this and that, but everything can change when that bell rings. He hits hard. I hit devastatingly hard; I’m one of the biggest super middleweights in the world. It’s going to be interesting to see how we both react when the big shots start flying in. The one thing I will say is that I want my belt back and I’m going to get it.”

Froch can rightfully argue that he carries the superior firepower. In his 19 fights to date, which have also seen him win the Commonwealth Title, he has halted 15 opponents early. Last time out he became the first ever to stop Brian Magee with a devastating uppercut in the 11th.

That fight saw “The Cobra”, from Nottingham, suffer injuries of his own. He fractured a metatarsal on his right hand in the second, but successful surgery has seen him return to full fitness.

“The bone was pinned in a couple of places to allow it to heal, but they came out a couple of months ago and I am throwing punches normally now,” Froch explained. “The only problem I get is a slight ache after training, but that won’t hold me back from throwing my devastating uppercut and knockout blows.

“Because of the nature of the injury, it is highly unlikely to re-occur. It was just because of the gloves I had to wear. I won’t wear them ever again. I would pull out of a fight rather than wear them.”

Froch is confident there will be no pulling out ahead of the 24th.

“It’s happened three times with Dodson, but I am hopeful that the fight will go ahead this time round,” he said. “He’s sounding upbeat and strutting his stuff on the Internet, doing his thing on the speedball on YouTube. He looked good, but my promoter Mick Hennessy works the speed ball better.

“The honest truth is, I don’t know whether he was genuinely injured or not in the past. There is a small part of me that thinks it had something to do with his confidence, but even if it was, that doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue this time around. Not judging on his win over Hearn. He looked good and is coming off the back of some other decent performances as well. He is going to be in a decent frame of mind and in great shape.”

Victory for Froch will see him fulfil a lifetime ambition of retaining the Lonsdale belt outright. Beyond that, he will be looking to stand on the world scene alongside Hennessy Sports team-mate Junior Witter, who made history last Friday at the Alexandra Palace by becoming the first ever British fighter to win a WBC World Super Lightweight Title.

“I could be fighting for a world title now,” Froch added. “But I want the British Title outright first and I want to fight Tony Dodson. It is important for me to beat him before I move on. The fight has been on and off for ages and he is the most deserving challenger out there.

“Realistically, I think I am about three or four fights away from getting my world title shot. I will sit down with Mick Hennessy after this fight and we will probably target the European first, but if a world title opportunity came up I would jump at it. I am ready. Seeing Junior do that on Friday has inspired me to get there all the quicker. It was a fantastic achievement; he did Britain proud.”

Article posted on 21.09.2006

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