sport

Fitzpatrick predicts fireworks

Paddy Fitzpatrick insists George Groves will not tone down his exciting style and has predicted another explosive encounter with Carl Froch.

The challenger was expected to adopt a cagey approach in his first meeting with Froch last November, but quickly altered the script by flooring the WBA and IBF champion in the very first round.

As the fight progressed, Groves stood and traded with the Nottingham man, piling on more punches in a brutal sixth round.

Froch fought back strongly and the 26-year-old was hurt as he traded punches on the ropes in the ninth, prompting the speedy intervention of referee Howard Foster.

The bitter rivals will meet again on May 31 and there is plenty of intrigue about the tactics each fighter will employ in the rematch.

But Fitzpatrick does not think Groves must curb his attacking instincts, suggesting he will again go for the jugular - and is confident that Froch will do the same.

Asked what he expects, the trainer told skysports.com: "A hell of a fight, because sometimes you get rematches that are a bit more subdued and that won't be the case this time.

"Usually that happens because both men have took a whole heap of punishment and they start to think they have to be more clever this time.

"Regardless of what we want to say, regardless of if Carl was just about to get George, George didn't take a whole heap of punishment. He hasn't felt anything that will make him think 'I'm not going to go through that again'.

"Carl on the other hand has, but Carl is the type of man he is. He is a warrior with a granite chin. So he will come out, George will come out engage and it will be on again."

Fitzpatrick will not make many changes, despite his fighter's first professional defeat, but does accept that Groves became more reckless in the later rounds, allowing Froch to draw him into a dogfight.

The Irishman, who has worked alongside Groves' previous trainer Adam Booth, intends to sharpen 'The Saint' mentally and physically ahead of the second clash.

"Everything that we were doing was working." he said.

"We could probably have our composure a bit better in rounds seven and eight, but I don't think we have to do anything different.

"It's not that he needs to work on anything mental because of a shortfall, but you always work on everything anyway because you try to become a complete fighter. Technically and emotionally you should always be trying to improve."

One part of Groves' armoury needing little work is his hurtful right hand, a potent weapon that frequently breached Froch's defences, and he will heavily use it again.

Responding to suggestions that the former British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion became overly reliant on his now famous shot, Fitzpatrick said: "You know maybe if I said that it would probably lead you to believe that we won't be as greedy next time and we will be just as greedy, with a little bit more composure, with a little bit more to add off the end of it.

"We're going to be just as greedy."

The two foes came face-to-face face again recently on an edition of Ringside and then Gloves Are Off to be screened at 10.30pm, Saturday, Sky Sports 1 and the mind games continued during a Facebook question and answer session, too.

In Fitzpatrick's opinion, Groves still has the upper hand in the psychological warfare, and he believes the pressure will take its toll on Froch as the fight approaches.

"I don't think we have to worry too much about it," he said.

"Carl's got the personality that he has and gradually that will unfold in the press conferences. He doesn't like George, he doesn't have a taste for him. George doesn't care about Carl, he doesn't mind being around him."

Froch appears determined to dissuade fears he is on the decline and has locked himself away in a Sheffield training camp, Monday to Friday, going back to the basics.

Fitzpatrick feels Groves has his measure regardless of his preparations and is adamant the 36-year-old will be cruelly exposed if he is on the slide.

"Let's look at it one of two ways; he's either not on decline or he is," said Fitzpatrick.

"So let's pretend he's not on the decline. Well then we met the best Carl Froch last time. Well if he is on the decline, then he's in a whole heap of trouble."