Carl Froch believes there is nothing preventing him from completing the traditional title path following his impressive fifth round stoppage win over Ruben Groenewald last Friday, (December 2nd), at an atmospheric Nottingham Arena.
The 28-year-old British and Commonwealth king was a little cautious going into the contest as it was his first since summer surgery to repair a ruptured extensor hood on his right hand. Despite a rigorous run-out, however, there were no signs of the old problem.
"When you have had an injury you always have those niggling little doubts that it is going to play up in fight conditions, even though everything has gone fine in training and sparring," Froch explained. "That’s why I took my time a bit against Groenewald. I wanted to pick my shots and not catch him somewhere awkward like his elbow, just in case.
"But as the fight went on and the hand held up I got more and more confident and started to let my shots go.
"By the time of the stoppage I was catching him hard and flush with practically every shot in the book and I didn’t even feel a twinge."
As such, it is now full steam ahead for “The Cobra.”
"The injury has hindered me a bit this year," he admitted. "It happened in April in my fight against Henry Porras and I carried it into my fight against Matthew Barney in July.
"Even though I won both fights well, I believe I would have done better if I was fully fit, particularly against Barney. If I could have loaded up I would have definitely stopped him.
"But after my hand held up against Ruben, I know now that the problem won’t be bothering me again. I am completely back to my best.
"I can get on with the business of winning more genuine titles. Opponents permitting, I would love to win the Lonsdale belt outright before moving up to European then world-class."
The win over Groenewald underlined Froch’s potential. After stepping on the gas he completely overwhelmed the rugged South African, who had previously more than lived with respected opposition.
"Ruben has my complete respect," Froch added. "He is a tough, talented campaigner. Don’t forget that just last year he went to Germany and by all accounts beat former European super middleweight champion Danilo Haussler, only not to get the decision.
"He had never been stopped before, but I blew him away. He couldn’t live with me. I don’t think anyone could take my best shots. I was very happy with the way I performed."
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV