Carl Froch or George Groves? South Essex fighters have their say on the Battle of Britain

9:00pm Friday 30th May 2014

By Frazer Clark

IT’S being billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history. Around 85,000 people are expected to pack into Wembley Stadium to see George Groves try for a second time to beat IBF and WBA super-middleweight champion Carl Froch and everyone has got an opinion on who will come out on top. FRAZER CLARK asked three south Essex fighters – Thurrock’s Matt McCarthy, Leigh’s Danny Hunt and Bowers Gifford’s John Dignum – for their views.


MATT McCarthy says he will be watching the Froch versus Groves fight at home – but he wishes he was going to Wembley to see the big fight.

The south Essex fighter, who trains at Corringham’s Spartans Gym, says it’s going to be too close to call the outcome of what is been billed as Britain’s biggest ever domestic fight.

He said: “It’s going to be a war out there, especially for the first three or four rounds. When it comes down to it I think that if it goes the full distance it will go to Groves because he’s got the speed in the ring.

“But you’ve got to say that if the bout is stopped early it will go to Froch. Froch has the experience and has boxed at a very high level all over the world.

“Groves is younger and in his prime – there’s some who have said that he has not fully matured yet,” he added.

“Mighty” Matt McCarthy recently vacated his own British International Masters welterweight title to concentrate on longer professional bouts.

He said: “I’d love to have been at Wembley to see the fight. But I’ll be watching it with my family because they are all boxing mad and it’s going to be a real occasion.

“Boxing needs these big events and it’s a long time since we’ve had something which has got people going like this.

“Because there has been a lot of trash talk both Carl and George are likely to go to war early on.

“Part of the skill of boxing is ignoring what the crowd wants and boxing to your own plan. You’ve got to listen to what your corner is saying to you, too.

“If you’re sucked into the frenzied atmosphere and ignore your corner you are asking for trouble.

“People have talked about home advantage for George with the bout being at Wembley. But I don’t think there’s anything in this – they are both English.

“Even though there will be 80,000 people screaming at them there will be just the two of them in the ring.”

McCarthy saw November’s controversial first fight when referee Howard Foster stopped the bout in favour of Froch in the ninth round.

And he thought the decision was correct.

McCarthy said: “He was right to stop it in my opinion because Groves was getting hurt.

“Groves got too excited and that was when Froch took over.

“On Saturday, it’s going to be a hard one to call but I think it will be over somewhere between the eighth and 12 round.

“It’s between a young, fresh fighter and an older experienced man and that’s why everyone is talking about it.”


LEIGH’S Danny Hunt is struggling to call the final outcome of the Froch versus Groves fight.

But he believes a certain winner will be British boxing.

Hunt said: “Whoever wins it’s going to be fantastic for British boxing.

“Froch has been at the top for years and was in the Super Sixes competition. Some people think that he’s had his day, but he is still very dangerous.

“In that last bout with Groves he was caught unawares. I hear that he has shut himself away and has been training harder than he’s ever trained for this one,” said Hunt, a former English lightweight champion.

“Groves is young and fresh and trained really hard. At the moment, it’s too close to call. I’d say it was 50-50 and it depends who turns up on the night.

“It’ll definitely do down to the wire but I’m a bit concerned that these fights which are so hyped up can sometimes fail to live up to expectations because both the fighters are a bit cautious about getting hit.

“I’m watching it on a mate’s big screen plasma telly in Southchurch. If I was at Wembley the only tickets I could get would be so high up in the Gods that you’d never see anything,” quipped the fighter whose next bout will be at Zero Six Nightclub on August 23.


BOWERS Gifford fighter John Dignum is another fight insider struggling to put a cigarette paper between the two fighters.

Dignum said: “Groves is going to want this one so badly after what happened last time round. He’s after Froch’s titles.

“Nobody knows what sort of training he’s doing as there are only a couple of people training him. The fact that it is in London may help Groves too because Froch is further from home.

“The fight in November saw Groves win a lot of the earlier rounds but in the end Froch just got to him.

“I believe they’ve both trained as if it’s a 15-round bout to make sure they can both go the distance.

“With Froch you are getting a great deal of experience and that’s something you just cannot buy.

“I’d say it’s virtually 50-50 for me.”


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