Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch has shed some light on a sparring session with Chris Eubank Jr and admitted he was taken aback by his toughness while trading ‘flush shots’ back in 2014.
Eubank Jr makes his long-awaited return to boxing on Saturday’s Chisora vs Parker bill as he battles Marcus Morrison at the AO Arena in Manchester.
And Froch has revealed he was shocked at how Eubank Jr showed ‘no fear’ when they stepped between the ropes when he was just 24.
“Eubank Jr wasn’t that engaging with everyone, but you’re not when you’re in there to spar and do business,” Froch told Sky Sports.
“He wasn’t rude or ignorant or arrogant. He came across like a real nice kid, a polite young man. That is how I found him.
“That is probably the first time I had met him. Respectful and polite.
“You then put your boxing gloves on and get in the ring and spar. He was a very tough kid, believes in himself, no fear. He’s decent, a good fighter.
“I could tell that he wasn’t a polished professional at that stage, because he hadn’t had a big amateur career.
“Some of the stuff he was doing was quite crude, but his toughness and his fitness and work-rate were really good.
“He gave me really good sparring. He was smaller than me and lighter, but he soaked it up, he punched back, he was confident.
“He always had a go. Very impressed with him.
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“I was landing flush shots, but I was getting hit with flush shots as well. He’s quick and he’s tough, and he keeps coming forward.
“I’ve been in there with top fighters, so when you spar someone, you know.
“I thought, ‘He could be good Eubank Jr.’”
Eubank Jr spoke about his pride in sparring the world champion and admitted he would practice his passive aggressive tactics in the experience.
“You have to have fire, grit, determination, even at a young age, sparring a world champion,” Eubank Jr said.
“I relish opportunities to fight guys who are true fighters. I want to test myself. I want to be in the ring with the baddest men.
“Steel sharpens steel. In the ring with Froch at that young age? If I get through that, these guys won’t be able to touch me.
“I shouldn’t have been able to compete with a guy of his level at my young age, at the time. So to do what I did? It was a huge confidence boost and solidified the belief I had in myself that I can do this.
“It was a great learning experience.”