Salisbury JournalFroch hits out at 'paranoid' Groves (From Salisbury Journal)

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Froch hits out at 'paranoid' Groves

Salisbury Journal: Carl Froch, left, criticised George Groves for requesting non-British officials Carl Froch, left, criticised George Groves for requesting non-British officials

Carl Froch has branded George Groves "paranoid" for demanding neutral officials for the pair's super-middleweight world title rematch at Wembley in May.

Groves complained of bias to the British Boxing Board of Control after referee Howard Foster stopped November's first title bout in the ninth round, handing controversial victory to defending champion Froch.

Londoner Groves will refuse to fight Froch at Wembley on May 31 unless the BBBofC grant his demand for non-British officials.

Nonplussed Froch does not believe Groves' call will jeopardise the keenly-anticipated fight, that could set a new post-war British attendance record.

"I personally can't believe it, and I'm not happy about it," said 36-year-old Froch.

"We're all in this sport together, and the British Boxing Board of Control do a fantastic job.

"To say that we don't want them officiating potentially the biggest fight in British boxing history, it almost makes a mockery of the British Boxing Board of Control.

"It's a real shame, we've got two British fighters, we're going to leave it all in the ring, you've got to give George Groves a lot of credit for how he performed in his first fight, he did a good job.

"We would like to think that our referees, our officials, our judges could play a part in the whole event.

"To say that they're not invited to the party, when it's happening on our soil, I'm sure that they could turn around and refuse to sanction the fight.

"If that happens it wouldn't be able to be held on British soil.

"This will unfold, but it's George again playing clever clogs.

"Possibly he's paranoid about upsetting a lot of officials, from the last one, and he might feel it's going to have some backlash.

"I don't think something like that would mean that this fight doesn't happen, I really don't think that.

"But it's something that's going to need discussing and ironing out."

Groves hopes for compromise as he awaits a response from the BBBofC, but still claims the fight is "conditional" on the appointment of neutral officials.

Groves claims referee Foster responded to a Facebook post suggesting Froch would win in the ninth round ahead of the first bout.

The Hammersmith-born fighter said his grievance with the BBBofC was appeased by the IBF issuing the mandatory rematch.

Now Groves has the fight, he is also battling against the appointment of officials he believes could fall prey to public prejudice ahead of the May showdown.

"It's conditional that there are no UK officials: otherwise I don't ring walk," said Groves.

"I have respect for the British Boxing Board of Control, but they failed me in the first fight, this is a huge fight that has to take place.

"And if they insist upon placing one of their officials, who will be susceptible to the build-up - because how can you not? - then I won't fight.

"Someone wrote a Facebook status along the lines of "looking good Carl Froch in the ninth" with a question-mark that he liked.

"It may sound pathetic but it's a public statement on a social network for the whole world to see.

"I'm not even friends with Howard Foster and I could see it from my account.

"Whether it's conscious or sub-conscious, either way it would have an effect on the fight, it has made him biased, as well as the media, saying Carl Froch is the established champion so it's a one-horse race.

"We raised it with the British Boxing Board of Control and we feel we were fobbed off.

"Ultimately the IBF said they couldn't judge someone on a Facebook page but what we can do is look at the stoppage, and the stoppage was incorrect, so that's why I've got my rematch.

"Eddie (Hearn) and my solicitors are working on what happens next now.

"We'll find a compromise, I'm not here to alienate the British Boxing Board of Control, but we feel we have more than a valid point, and the fight is conditional upon it.

"I feel that whether conscious or otherwise, first time there was bias in Carl Froch's favour against me and it cost me the fight, and I don't want that again."

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