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World super-middleweight champion Carl Froch says he does not want to give up his IBF belt and is ready to take on George Groves.
Froch beat Lucian Bute to claim the IBF title last year but he could lose it unless he agrees to fight Groves, who is now the mandatory challenger for that belt.
However Froch says that will not happen and that he is ready to take on his former sparring partner as promoter Eddie Hearn works on organising the fight.
Froch is taking time out as he recovers from the thrilling victory over Mikkel Kessler back in May, but says he is willing to take on Groves next.
“He’s mandatory for the IBF by default because Lucian Bute is injured, and I think (Edwin) Rodriguez and (Brandon) Gonzalez were fighting for the number two spot, this is what Eddie (Hearn, promoter) is telling me anyway,” he said.
“George Groves is next in line for the IBF title and, you know me, I defend my title rather than vacate it. I’ll fight anybody.
“I’ve not been officially asked to vacate the title but I’ve been made aware of the situation that Groves is mandatory and I’m not in a position where I want to give a belt up.”
Hearn has confirmed that talks are already underway between the respective parties, and it is hoped the eagerly-awaited domestic showdown will take place later this year.