Bury’s Scott Quigg has praised promoter Eddie Hearn for ‘rejuvinating’ British boxing on the eve of Saturday night’s domestic superfight between Carl Froch and George Groves.
Nottingham’s Froch is set to do battle once again in a much heated battle with Londoner Groves in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium.
When the pair met last November in Manchester it went down as one of the greatest domestic match-ups in the history of the sport.
Froch, 36, displayed a warrior’s heart after recovering from a first round knock-down to win via TKO in the ninth round.
Groves, 26, claimed he was robbed by the referee’s decision, and within weeks a rematch was ordered by the International Boxing Federation.
It is a fight that has been heralded as the biggest fight British boxing has ever seen, and Quigg thinks the accolade is spot on.
“You’ve got to agree with that, 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium,” Quigg told MM.
“You know we’ve had Nigel Benn v Eubank at Old Trafford but I think this tops that because of the magnitude of the first fight.
“It’s captured the imagination of the public, not just boxing fans. It’s definitely the biggest fight in British boxing history.”
It is a huge turnaround for a domestic scene which grew stagnant for many years, largely down to the influence of rival promoter, Frank Warren.
Eddie Hearn, son of English entrepreneur Barry Hearn, can largely be credited with breaking up Warren’s monopoly.
Hearn has made his mark on Matchroom Sports, chaired by his father, by promoting a number of explosive boxing cards over the last couple of years.
“He’s delivered what the fans want,” Quigg told MM. “At the end of the day you’ve got to deliver what the fans want and if you’re not giving the fans what they want then they won’t turn up to the fight.
“So with Matchroom and Sky working together they have rejuvenated British Boxing.”
Quigg himself is one of many exciting fighters to fight on the Matchroom roster.
The 25-year-old is currently unbeaten 30 fights and current holds the WBA Super Bantamweight title.
Last month he stunned crowds by knocking out South Africa’s Tshifhiwa Munyai within two rounds.
“If you think just a couple of years ago people were saying boxing was on the slide yet two years later we have just filled Wembley Stadium,” he told MM.
“They must be doing something right.”
Quigg was surprised Groves gave stable-mate such a difficult night last time roun, but he was not surprised to see the champion pull through and claim the win.
He thinks Froch has learnt from his mistake of overlooking the ‘domestic’ fighter in the first fight, and assured MM he has taken Groves much more seriously this time round.
“The first fight George Groves had actually took Carl Froch apart before they even went into the ring. Mentally wise he had the edge,” he told MM.
“He got him wound up. He’d not been given the respect and he was angry than anything else. It was like, ‘who is this kid thinking I’m this or I’m that.’
“Whereas this time, Carl Froch locked himself away, he’s lived like a monk.”
The pair recently appeared on Sky Sport’s Gloves Are Off, where the pair nearly came to blows when they met last year.
Groves taunted the champion and discarded his accomplishments in the sport, something which riled Froch, and his anger was apparent right up until fight night.
Froch cut a far more composed figure on their latest appearance on the show, having learnt how to handle the Londoner.
“He’s not been in and around George Groves that much and when he has, if you watched Groves on Gloves Are Off I think Carl Froch had the upper hand on that,” he told MM.
“When you know how George Groves likes to be, he likes to talk. He never gets stuck for words and there were a lot of silent stone-faced moments.”
Despite the clear dislike Froch has for the cocky contender, there is one thing he has for Groves – respect.
“This time Carl Froch has got a lot more respect for George Groves,” he told MM.
“He’s not physically better but mentally he’s more switched on. He’s going to be sharper. He knows he can be hurt by Groves and he knows he has to turn up.”
Quigg thinks the world could be in for something truly special, and can even see a situation similar to when the Undisputed Champion Marvin Hagler stopped Thomas Hearns within three rounds.
Despite only lasting three rounds, the battle went down as one of the greatest fights in history, and Quigg believes we may be in for something similar.
“I think it could be a lot like Haggler v Hearn. I think it could be that sort of fight and I think it could be over within the first four rounds
“I think Carl Froch will stop George Groves within seven rounds but I think it will be because of George Groves’ own undoing.
“He’ll get caught by exchanging too long and not sticking to a plan.”
In the final press conference before the two finally lace up, Froch said the magnitude of the occasion has given him the motivation to put in the extra graft during his training camp.
He said: “Every fight is equally important but because of the stage of my career, these two world titles and the fact that it’s an immediate return with George Groves, it’s got that air of extra important about it. It’s big.
“It’s by far the biggest fight of my unbelievable career and that’s given me the motivation and apprehension that I need to perform at my best.
“Preparation is key. Fights are won or lost in camp. I didn’t lose the first one in the camp because I did the business and won the fight but I didn’t give myself every possible chance because I wasn’t mentally switched on or physically drive it home in the gyms.”
The Nottingham warrior insisted he is ready to show 80,00,000 fans watching at Wembley and millions more watching around the globe just why he is regarded as the best fighter in the UK.
“It’s such a massive platform for boxing. Big thanks to the British public. This is a massive opportunity to really drive home what I’m about,” he said.
“A lot of hardcore boxing fans know and when I turn up in the shape I’m in now, you’ve seen it time and time again that I can mix it with the elite boxers of the world.”
As braisen as ever, Groves said preparations have been perfect, and proclaimed Froch is in for a big surprise come Saturday night.
“He’s like a man on death row and I can’t imagine that would be very nice,” Groves said. “His destiny is to lose and I’d much rather leave him to digest all of that in peace.
“Nothing needs to be said between us. It’s dawning on him that his day of reckoning is approaching and he’s in a fight he cannot win.
“On Saturday, it’s going to hit him like a slap in the face. It might hit him during the ring walk or it might hit him in the form of a left hook.”
Main image courtesy of atg radio, with thanks.