Nick Parkinson looks at the boxing scene and focuses on Carl Froch's bid to make sure the sport in Britain ends 2012 on a high.
Last Updated: 25/04/12 11:10am
Carl Froch hopes his fight with Lucian Bute will signal upturn in British boxing
Carl Froch is confident he can ensure British boxing ends 2012 in a much better state than it is in now, with more world champions and new Olympic stars.
The Nottingham super-middleweight bids to win back a version of the world title when he challenges Canadian Lucian Bute for the IBF belt on May 26 - live on Sky Sports HD. Froch, 34, lost his WBC world title in December a week after Amir Khan was relieved of his IBF and WBA world light-welterweight belts via a disputed points decision to American Lamont Peterson.
Britain now has only two world champions - WBO light-heavyweight ruler Nathan Cleverly and WBO lightweight king Ricky Burns - compared with the seven it had in 2007.
The sport's reputation also took a battering thanks to Dereck Chisora and David Haye brawling at a post-fight press conference in February while major fights in the ring - Tyson Fury versus David Price - have not happened.
But Froch insists British boxing is not in a slump and will end this year in a better condition with himself and Khan, who faces Peterson on May 19 for his old titles, both trying to reclaim their world champion status live on Sky Sports next month. The Nottingham boxer also expects new boxing stars to emerge from Britain's seven-man Olympic team.
"Boxing goes through peaks and troughs," Froch told Punchlines. "If you want to be negative you could say British boxing is going through a dip at the moment. Myself, Amir and David Haye lost world titles last year and it doesn't look like Haye will get a fight with Vitali Klitschko now.
"But I prefer to look at the positives. Myself and Amir Khan are both fighting for world titles next month and it will look different after that. I don't think British boxing is in a bad state, it's just some of the media like to say it is after the Haye and Chisora brawl.
"By the end of 2012, it will be a good year for boxing and we could have quite a few more world champions. We have got boxers coming through like George Groves and this summer we have got the biggest thing in sport on our doorstep which will boost boxing in this country.
"I train with the Olympic boxing team in Sheffield and we have got a great chance of getting medals. We're going to get some golds but it's going to be all down to the draw as to how many we get. Anthony Joshua, Tom Stalker, Josh Taylor and Anthony Ogogo are all capable of winning gold.
"Boxing will be back under the spotlight in the Olympics and it will give boxing a great platform to get the general public interested in the sport again."
+ Amir Khan, training hard in the city of Bagu in the Philippines ahead of his May 21 revenge mission against Lamont Peterson, has reduced his media commitments ahead of his forthcoming IBF-WBA world light-welterweight title fight. The Bolton boxer, who is not usually reticent when it comes to meeting the press, is not doing any individual interviews with newspapers from his training base in the Philippines where he is working with trainer Freddy Roach and alongside Manny Pacquiao.
+ James DeGale insists it will not be another six months before he fights again after an impressive first defence of his European super-middleweight title last Saturday. The 2008 Olympic gold medallist, who was taking tips from ring legend Roberto Duran at an Essex gym earlier this week, turned on the power in the fourth round to stop Italian Cristian Sanavia. DeGale climbed into the ring in Denmark to face Sanavia following a six-month ring exile, the longest of his professional career. "My next move is to sort out my contract which will be done soon at a hearing and it won't take another six months before I'm out again," DeGale told Punchlines. "I want to box again in another four or five weeks. It was a great performance to knock a former world champion out in four rounds, no one has stopped him so early. I had an offer to fight [WBO champion Robert] Stieglitz [on May 5] but money wasn't mentioned. I was contracted to fight Sanavia and I didn't want to pull out at five days' notice. But I wouldn't say no to fighting Stieglitz in the future."
+ The eight-man line-up for the next Prizefighter - the Irish middleweights at the King's Hall on May 5, live on Sky Sports 1HD - were filmed and photographed at the Giant's Causeway on the Northern Ireland coast this week. For former world light-welterweight challenger Paul McCloskey, who faces American DeMarcus Corley on the same May 5 bill in Belfast, it was an overdue chance to visit the tourist attraction. "I only live about 40 miles away but believe it or not that was only the second time I've been there so it was great to see something so beautiful on my doorstep," said McCloskey.