Bute trainer Stephan Larouche: Lucian will spoil and neutralise Carl Froch’s strength like Andre Ward did

24 Apr

Photos: Interbox

Words: Denzil Stone – Atlantic City

Reigning IBF super middleweight title holder Lucian Bute and head coach Stephan Larouche are five weeks away from entering their enemy’s terrain to take on their tenth championship challenger Carl Froch at the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham on Saturday, May 26. Currently training in West Palm Beach, Florida, both Bute and Larouche have divulged certain aspects of their camp as they bid to quieten the expected partisan crowd in England.

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Fight is still over one month away but Bute - ever the athlete - already looks like he is in exceptional condition

Detailing their camp to date and plans for the immediate future, Larouche said: “We had a good start to training camp in February, sparring started three weeks ago [and] we leave Florida around mid-May to travel to England to acclimate, finalise preparations and add the finishing touches before the fight.”

Despite an undefeated record, nine successful defences and notable victories over Edison Miranda, Brian Magee and Glen Johnson, Bute (30-0-0, 24ko) has attracted criticism for the perceived lack of quality opponents when compared to those aligned with the Super Six World Boxing Classic finalists; Froch and Andre Ward. By taking on Froch, who continuously takes on the world’s best, Bute aims to silence the censure, however, in the words of his trainer, it will not come easy.

“We fully expect Lucian to experience some discomfort,” stated Larouche. “Fighting in England will be difficult [as] winning in Europe as the opposing boxer almost never happens. Lucian will have to play the spoiler. Most of the fans in attendance will be against him. Nobody there other than a few fans will want him to win. This is the first time that Lucian will live this experience. Lucian will have to work harder than he does for his fights in Quebec and if he does, at the end of the evening, he will be the hero of the crowd.”

Bute has amassed a reputation as both a headhunter due to his concussive uppercuts (see: victory over Jean Paul Mendy) as well as a bodysnatcher because of his tortuous punches to the midsection (see: triumph over Magee). The Canadian-Romanian, though, also has ring smarts and, against a fighter famed for his pressure and warrior kinsmanship, it is Bute’s ability to use the ring and keep himself out of harm’s way that could see him negate Froch’s advantages – much like Andre Dirrell tried to do (2009) and Andre Ward succeeded in (2011).

“Carl Froch has many strengths and we have to neutralise them all, as Andre Ward did last December,” Larouche conceded in a statement that implies the Super Six final could be a fight that influences how Larouche and Bute approach combat with Carl the Cobra. “Froch has an awkward style,” he added. “Lucian should expect to be hit from unconventional angles: From below, sideways, et cetera. Rest assured we are training to adapt to all situations.”

Bute is renowned for his heavy hands and body nor head is safe from his attack

“By saying yes to fight Carl Froch in his hometown, I’m showing the world that I can fight anybody anywhere,” Bute said. “I expect a tough fight.”

Larouche has not only been devising strategy, engaging in pad-work and ensuring Bute’s body is in condition but also working on the mental aspects of fighting away from home comforts, as Lucian explained: “While training we recreate the atmosphere of what we expect to hear at the Capital FM Arena of Nottingham. I can’t hear the bell and I can’t even hear my coach talking to me. I will be ready to face not only Carl Froch but also the hostile atmosphere of Froch’s fans.

“I am training for a 12 round war so I am sure to have all the energy required to fight Carl Froch in his hometown. My objective is to win the fight and stay world champion.”

Only 20 percent of Bute’s opponents have managed to survive until the final bell. Froch, conversely, has never been knocked out. Is Lucian aiming to become the first to canvas the battle-tested 34-year-old? “I don’t target the KO but if it comes I will jump all over it,” he said, before concluding: “A KO would be a terrific ending to my fight.”

Becoming the first to kayo Froch would enhance Bute's reputation, fanbase and media profile

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