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Lucian Bute confident he will overcome hostile English crowd to retain IBF title

05/23/2012 05:16 EDT | Updated 07/23/2012 05:12 EDT
NOTTINGHAM, England - Lucian Bute says he has no fears about the hostile crowd that most certainly awaits him in his attempt to defend his IBF super-middleweight title this weekend.

The Montreal-based boxer will enter the ring in Nottingham, England, on Saturday night to square off against local son Carl Froch.

Froch (28-2) has never lost at home, and this week's bout will be a tough test for the undefeated Bute (30-0).

"The public will give him positive energy, that's true," Bute, 32, told a news conference on Wednesday.

"But in the ring, it's going to be just me and him. Obviously, the crowd will be all pumped up if he hits me, but I've been expecting that ever since I agreed to the fight.

"I've worked hard leading up to this and I'm going to step into the ring feeling such extraordinary confidence."

Bute won the belt in 2007 and has defended it nine times.

He is coming off a 12-round decision in November over veteran Glen Johnson, while Froch is on the rebound from losing a one-sided decision to Andre Ward in the final of Showtime's Super-Six series in December.

Froch has accused Bute in the past of being very selective in his choice of opponents. But Bute responded to that by saying he's the one who chose to fight the 34-year-old Froch on his home turf.

"The fact he hasn't fought anyone (of note) doesn't mean he isn't an elite boxer and that he'll never beat the best," Froch told the same news conference.

"This is a big test for him. It's a fight where a lot of questions will be asked — and I'm the one who's going to be asking them."

Bute's trainer, Stephan Larouche, said his protege can't afford any lapses in concentration.

"If he has moments that last two to three seconds where he loses his concentration, as happens sometimes in Montreal, that could hurt him," said Larouche.

"He's going have to be sharper in his transition between coming forward and going on the defensive. He can't let Carl Froch think for even one second that he's feeling discouraged."

Bute sounded fairly nonchalant when asked whether he felt reassured that a Quebecer will be one of the three judges overseeing the bout.

"I don't really care," he said. "I didn't even ask who the judges were. I don't think the judges will make the difference."

The other judges are British and American.

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