Boxing: Carl Froch slams fellow Brits for sparring with Mikkel Kessler

'The Cobra' is a friend of the Dane but is spitting mad after Groves and Cleverly helped him out

A furious Carl Froch has launched a savage attack on two fellow British boxers, labelling Nathan Cleverly and George Groves "traitors" for helping his Danish opponent Mikkel Kessler prepare for next Saturday's world super-middleweight title unification bout.

Cleverly, the WBO light-heavyweight champion, and world super-middleweight contender Groves, one of his own stablemates who fights on the same bill at London's O2, have spent the past three weeks assisting Kessler as principal sparmates in Copenhagen, much to Froch's disgust.

"It just sums up what they are," he says. "I'm a British fighter but they'd rather go out there and help a foreign fighter prepare for the biggest fight of my career. It just shows the state of British boxing in terms of people working with each other.

"Groves isn't my friend and neither is Cleverly, so they can do what they want, but really, as British fighters, shouldn't they have a bit more class about them?

"They both want to fight me but are bitter and jealous because it's not happening as I'm a league above the pair of them. It's not going to help Kessler in preparation for me as neither of them can mimic my style or have my resolve.

"I certainly wouldn't help a foreign fighter prepare for a British fighter and I've not spoken to anybody who would. Adam Booth [Groves's trainer] is supposed to be a friend but he obviously has done what he thought was right for George Groves with no consideration for Carl Froch. "But Groves has got a chip on his shoulder anyway. He won't spar with me because he considers himself a potential opponent, though he is the only one that does. Nobody is going to take him seriously until he has had a couple of fights with decent people and stops getting knocked out in sparring, which seems to be happening quite regularly."

The senior pro among Britain's current quartet of world champions, The Cobra's verbal venom has never endeared him to many in the fight fraternity. University-educated, he says: "I worked my nuts off" for the fame that has come slowly to him.

Despite Froch's outburst, the finely matched talents of Nottingham's abrasive IBF champion and the WBA belt-holder Kessler had made the usual pre-fight hype and bad-mouthing redundant. It is a contest that sold itself; all 20,000 seats were snapped up within a couple of hours, enticing Sky back to pay-per-view.

"People have been upset in the past about pay-per-view fights because they got sold a lie or an illusion that was not real," says Froch. "But this time there was no need for anyone rolling around on the floor or slapping each other in the face. This is between two blokes whose respect for each other is there for everyone to see."

The recent virtuoso performances of Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Wladimir Klitschko will be hard acts to follow, but the impending return dogfight between this pair of pedigree chums, friends as well as foes, is surely destined to be equally memorable. "Potentially this could be another Hagler-Hearns," adds Froch. "The fans will look back in years to come and think it was one of the all-time classics.

Kessler, the pugilistic prince of Denmark, clearly outscored Froch in Herning three years ago but has fought only three times since.

Joe Calzaghe, who inflicted one of Kessler's only two defeats, suggests this relative inactivity could be crucial. "Froch has the momentum," says the Welshman. "All the cards seem to be in his favour but I still think it will be a war." A bloody and brutal one at that.

After a defeat by the WBC champion, Andre Ward, Froch's clinical destruction of the hitherto unbeaten Lucian Bute to claim the IBF title was a chilling indication of his renewed resolution.

"I'm going to do a number on Kessler," he vows. "Everyone is going to be shocked. I can't see him going past eight or nine rounds."

Even though at 35 he is a year older than Kessler, Froch seems to have the greater hunger and lingering ambition, as well as invaluable home advantage, all of which is now driven by the burning desire to stick it on the fellow Brits he believes have betrayed him.

Froch v Kessler is live on Sky Sports HD Box Office on Saturday. Visit or call 08442 410888 for booking information

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Science Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Supply teachers needed in Wigan!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments