Harry Pratt

Froch urges countrymen to unify titles

Carl Froch has called upon WBO light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly and Ricky Burns, the WBO junior lightweight beltholder, to start unifying their respective divisions and rubberstamp British boxing as a world force.

Froch, super middleweight, will attempt to add the RING and WBA titles to his WBC title on Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., when he meets American Andre Ward in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.

If successful, the 34-year-old from Nottingham will join WBA and IBF junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan as the UK’s only multiple champions.

That’s why Froch reckons it is time for Welshman Cleverly and Scottish star Burns to follow suit and prove they also have what it takes to be classed among the modern-day greats of the sport.

“It’s good that we have these world champions. The more champions we have, the better it is for British boxing,” Froch said on talkSPORT radio. “I wish them all the best. Amir Khan is doing the business at world level but, no disrespect to Ricky Burns or Nathan Cleverly, they need to step up and fight some of the top names in their division.

“Then Britain will really be strong and at the forefront of boxing.”

Nobody could ever accuse Froch (28-1, 20 knockouts) of sidestepping the best. He has overcome Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson en route to his showdown with Ward (24-0, 13 KOs).

And the Englishman insists becoming the first person to beat the 27-year-old from Oakland, Calif., and earn pound-for-pound status in the process will fulfill a lifelong ambition.

“I am a two-time WBC champion, and now I am fighting for two titles, the WBC and WBA, in the biggest tournament in world boxing. So it really doesn’t get much bigger than this,” he said. “The winner will get pound-for-pound recognition, which will be absolutely brilliant.

“To be recognized as the best fighter in the world in any weight division … that’s awesome.”

Froch’s only defeat was a controversial points loss to Mikkel Kessler in April 2010. If he topples Ward, he wants a re-match with the Dane on home soil or, failing that, a crack at Romanian IBF titleholder Lucian Bute.

“We’ll try and get Kessler back at the City of Nottingham stadium. Wouldn’t that be amazing?” Froch said before adding: “Or we’ll get Lucian Bute, anywhere in the world. Then I can be the undisputed champion.”

Clearly, Froch likes to practice what he preaches.

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