Hi Carl! Is George Groves a genuine threat to your world titles?
I’m taking him seriously as every fighter poses a threat as they’re trying to hit you! I’m not concerned or worried because I don’t think he’d got what it takes to beat me. I’m sure he’ll tell you different and part of being a successful boxer is having self-belief which is something I’ve got and something George Groves is trying to instil at this level.
The fight sold out in minutes. Did that come as a surprise to you?
I had to pinch myself that it sold out so quickly because Manchester isn’t my home town, it’s a fantastic city and I’m really looking forward to going there and being part of this fight. I’ve had some big fights in my career and it’s actually nice to be fighting someone from Britain, it’s exciting. I always turn up fully prepared and I’m looking forward to it.
How’s your training been going?
I spar with a lot of top amateurs but we don’t tend to do that much to be honest. I’ve been training with Tony Bellew and Darren Barker so I’ve had some very competitive training as those guys are in top shape and they’re world level fighters so I’ll be more than ready come fight night.
Is there genuine hate between you both, or is it just hype?
It’s not a particularly personal fight; I don’t like the guy, so I choose not to engage in conversation with him. I don’t like him, I don’t want to get to know him, and he’s just another opponent that I’m going to beat on fight night. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past as we’re fighting each other. Everyone knows he’s going to lose on the night.
Is this the fight you wanted, or did you want a bigger name?
I’ve become a star in boxing and so the fights get bigger and bigger anyway, it’s as simple as that. I enjoy getting stuck in and working out regardless of who my opponent is. Training has gone very well, I’ve been breaking my fitness targets. I’ve always kept a diary of my results and I try and beat that with every fight. I’m experienced with the world title fights so I’ve heard it all before what Groves has got to say. He’s young and naïve, lots of young boxers tell you what they’re going to do then it’s completely different on the night of the fight so the trash talk doesn’t frighten me.
Are you bored of all the trash talking now?
The talking stops now as we’re so close to the fight. George is the only guy who doesn’t realise what’s going to happen on the night, everyone else knows he’s getting a bad whooping. I’m defending my castle and that’s what I do, I’m a champion.
Do you see any of yourself when you were George’s age?
I don’t think I’ve ever been that stupid or arrogant in my youth. I don’t demand respect, you earn it. George doesn’t have to respect me but he’s hanging himself by acting the way he is. I just can’t wait to get him in the ring and teach him a lesson.
Has any of his trash talking bothered you?
He tries to play down my performances and my wins, he’s a kid that shouldn’t be in ring with a champion like me. It’ been painful listening to him in the promotional stuff we’ve done. He’s someone I’ve knocked down in sparring with the big gloves. I know he’s got a glass jaw, I’ve hit him before. He’s getting knocked out on fight night. I’ve boxed for world titles in my last ten fights against fighters way above the level Groves’ has fought at.
He’s performed well against who he has fought though…
He worked well to a game plan against James DeGale but that sort of game plan won’t work against me because I’m a better fighter. I’ve proven throughout my career that I’ll fight anyone and if Groves is the mandatory fighter I’ll fight him. I’ve prepared as if I’m fighting one of the best fighters in the world as I always do. He’s not boxed anybody highly ranked in his whole career so this is a big step up for him which eve way you look at it. I just hope he comes to fight so we can make this a great British bust up. I’ve been around the sport too long to start getting wound up by the trash talk, I’ll bring my A-Game on the night, like I always do and win the fight.
Thanks for the chat Carl. Finally, will you be friends after the fight?
We rarely talk even though we’re supposedly stable mates. He’s not done anything for me other than say he ‘softened up Mikkel Kessler’ by sparring with him. I actually forgot to thank him for that so I’ll have to get him a drink sometime!