Carl Froch: 'Red carpet bashes? Give me bingo with my mum any day'

Sunday People Dave Kidd31st May, 2009

THE BIG INTERVIEW Chief sports writer DAVE KIDD talks to Carl Froch, Britain's only boxing world champion

Dave Kidd

When Ricky Hatton went to Las Vegas for his illfated fight with Manny Pacquiao, an army of 25,000 Brits invaded the gambling capital of the world. Even the legendary Oscar De La Hoya gave a full interview on US TV, while wearing one of The People's Ricky Hatton face masks.

Now, after Hatton was routed, Carl Froch is in pole position to fill his void as the poster boy of British boxing. Froch is our only current world champion, having defended his WBC super-middleweight crown against Jermain Taylor last month in one of the most breathtaking comebacks in boxing history.

And yet Froch admits he is struggling to come to terms with his new-found celebrity status, still preferring canvas to red carpet - and feeling more at home going to bingo with his mum than attending film premieres with girlfriend, Rachel.

Froch, 29, said: "Since the Taylor fight, I've been invited to a few red-carpet dos, I get some serious attention. I'm not sure if it's because I've got a beautiful girl on my arm or because I'm world champion. "I'm not big on the celebrity thing. I'm a grounded individual - I still go to bingo at The Top Spot in Nottingham on a Sunday night with my mum. I love it!

"I go out with my brother and he has a pint and I usually have water. I go and play snooker with my mates - I'm at home doing normal things. "But I know it's important to have to raise your profile and it's probably between me and David Haye as to who takes on Ricky Hatton's mantle. I'm Britain's only world champion though I think next month David will knock out Wladimir Klitschko, who is frightened of his own shadow."

Froch, of course, failed to attract a live British TV deal for the Taylor fight in Connecticut. ITV ended up screening the clash 'as live' the following night, when it turned out to be an epic.

Great The Brit was floored for the first time in his life in the third round only to knock out former undisputed world middleweight champ Taylor with 14 seconds remaining. Froch said: "Taylor caught me with a great shot but it was a flash knockdown. I wasn't hurt and my legs were totally fine - but, mentally, I'm thinking 'what happened there?' "I knew I needed a big finish because I was away from home but didn't think I needed to knock him out in the last round to win - but some of the judges were being a bit naughty.

"I went out there with every intention of hurting him and knocking him out in the 12th. I hit him with a big shot at the end of 11 and knew he wouldn't recover. "I was cool, composed, arms around my waist - as I am always criticised for - and I finished him in style." Boxing legend Barry McGuigan laid into Froch on TV for the way he was fighting - a fact which Froch brought up with the Irishman when they met as contestants on The Weakest Link last week.

Froch, 31, said: "Barry kept criticising me for keeping my left too low but the 20 opponents I have knocked out all had their left hand up. They all had a high guard, and it didn't help any of them. "An ex-boxer commentating on a fight should know better."

Froch's next fight will be a unification bout with IBF champ Lucian Bute, hopefully in Nottingham, in September. He said: "I've done my bit, going to America, and I deserve the fight to be in Nottingham. British TV will be on board this time."

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