Carl Froch Demands Respect For His ‘Favourite’ British Title

Boxing Scene

Carl Froch wants today’s fighters to treat the British title with greater respect.

The retired Froch, 46, reflects on his time winning and defending the British super middleweight title three times – and therefore becoming a permanent owner of the often-revered Lonsdale Belt – as that provided the platform for the career that took him into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Froch was the champion at 168lbs in the same era that the British title, in other weight divisions, inspired fights like those between Jamie Moore and Matthew Macklin, and Kevin Mitchell and Carl Johanneson, but almost 20 years on he doesn’t believe that his generation’s successors recognise its true value.

Hamzah Sheeraz is rightly widely regarded as one of British boxing’s finest prospects and has fought for the lightly regarded WBO light middleweight title and WBC silver middleweight title; Adam Azim has already won the European super lightweight title when a fight with the British champion Dalton Smith unquestionably has greater appeal. 

“I don’t think enough people appreciate what the British title does for your career in terms of experience and being in fights that really mean something,” Froch said. “If you’ve got that belt – I wanted to keep the belt. It’s got so much history, and has quite a few names on it. To have that and say I’m now in the history books and I defended it three times…

“To win the British title, and to defend the British title outright – it’s my favourite belt in my trophy cabinet. David Starie had it for a few years, and Dean Francis; [The British Boxing Board of Control] had it polished back up for me and it looks brand, spanking new on top of my mantelpiece. I love that British title. 

“I don’t think enough fighters now hold the British title in high enough regard, ‘cause that’s how you learn your trade. Without winning my British title and defending it three times, against people like Matthew Barney; Tony Dodson; Robin Reid; Brian Magee… Them sort of fights –12 rounders where you’re struggling – get you ready for the fights that I had with Jean Pascal and Jermain Taylor.”

It was in 2023 that Froch was inducted into the Hall of Fame, contributing to him being the guest of honour at a lunch hosted by the Boxing Writers’ Club this week.

“Conor Benn, for example, who’s now saying, ‘I’ll fight Terence Crawford’,” Froch continued. “He can’t be jumping in with people like Terence Crawford and expect anybody to take him seriously, because he’s not at that level yet. It’s a process. You’ve got to do your apprenticeship, and that almost minimises the British title a little bit by saying it’s an apprenticeship – [but] it is. 

“The foundations of becoming a man in the professional game – you go from being a contender to being a serious operator within professional boxing if you can win that British title. Everyone who has world-title aspirations – if you can win that British title and defend it, you’re cementing yourself as somebody who’s firmly going to go on and have a chance at winning a world title. If you try and cut that corner and get an interim title, you’re gonna go and fight someone who can really fight and get found out and that’s the end of your career. 

“Matthew Barney [in 2005] probably got me ready for when I fought Andre Dirrell [in 2009] in the Super Six. Tricky; horrible; leaning away and trying not to get hit; survival mode. All that experience from being a British champion, before I stepped up to world level – that was rounds of experience in the bank. Sparring’s the closest thing you can get to fighting but it’s not anything like fighting.  

“The British title for me is my favourite belt. It’s close to my heart. I thank Robert Smith and the Board for always remembering who I am.”

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