British and Commonwealth super middleweight king Carl Froch has criticised the choice of little known 35-year-old Kenyan Evans Ashira as the challenger for Joe Calzaghe’s WBO super middleweight title this Saturday. “I cannot understand why Joe is fighting an opponent of this calibre,” said the 28-year-old Froch, 16-0 (12), who will be returning to the ring in November. “If you ask me Evans Ashira is nothing but an overrated middleweight.”
“The last I saw of him he was getting knocked out in two rounds by Maselino Masoe in the weight division below Calzaghe.
“How come he gets to fight for a world title at 12 stone? I notice that like me Ashira appeared in the latest WBO super middleweight rankings. He is 10th, whilst I am 11th.
“What on earth has Ashira done to earn that position? He’s not fought one single name at super middleweight.
“In my opinion this fight is an absolute mismatch and I don’t think it is worthy of prime time TV exposure.”
“People have been saying that this is a warm-up fight for Calzaghe for IBF champion Lacy in November, but that is no excuse.
“Is that fight even made yet? And besides, there is a world title on the line on Saturday night. In my opinion the opponent should reflect that.”
Froch continued: “Another thing I want to know is how Calzaghe has had the gall to slate Ricky Hatton over the last couple of days when he is going into a fight like this?
“Particularly given what Hatton has just done to Kostya Tszyu. Why pick on him?
“Calzaghe knows Hatton can’t answer him in the ring; he is several weight divisions below him.
“He should pick on me instead, but I suspect that wont happen.
“The one thing I know about Calzaghe is that he can tell a marquee fighter when he sees one. He knows how dangerous I am.
“Perhaps he recognises what I do – that I will end his career. I wont just beat him. I will smoke his boots, I will leave him flat on his back.”
The Cobra’s frustrations are compounded by the fact that Calzaghe and his team have publicly previously talked down his credentials as an opponent, but are prepared to accept Ashira.
“In the past it has been said that I need to earn my shot at Joe by establishing myself on the world scene,” he added.
“Those arguments didn’t hold any water at the time and they certainly don’t now that he is fighting Ashira.
“Anybody can see that I am a far more worthy challenger than him.
“I hold the British and Commonwealth titles. I am a proven championship contender at the weight.
“I am ranked by the WBC, WBA and WBO and have even been to America and beaten a top class operator in style.”
In addition to his achievements, Froch also believes that his profile makes him a suitable contender.
“A fight between Calzaghe and I would mean something,” he said.
“Unlike for most of the 16 challengers for his title to date, there would be huge interest in him fighting me. Not only am I British, but I also bring a lot to the table.
“Even though I have only had 16 fights I am already selling as many, if not more, tickets than Calzaghe – and he has had 39 fights and is a world champion. Can you just imagine the venues I will be selling out when I’m the world champion?
“So you tell me who’s got that sprinkling of magic dust?”