Tag Archives: Mikkel Kessler

Mikkel Kessler sparring Nathan Cleverly and George Groves to prep for Carl Froch

9 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Mikkel Kessler is preparing for his Saturday, May 25 pay-per-view showdown against IBF super middleweight world champion Carl Froch by sparring against WBO light heavyweight incumbent Nathan Cleverly and Froch’s promotional stalemate George Groves.

Kessler said: “It´s great to have them in Copenhagen. This is the best preparation I could have asked for. To have three guys (including Sweden’s Eric Skoglund) like that – a world champion, a youth world champion and a top-ranked contender – is probably as good as it gets in terms of sparring. They are young, hungry and unbeaten. They will push me to the limit [and] that’s exactly the kind of warm-up I need to beat Carl Froch again!”

Kessler is a Viking Warrior but Scandinavia has a number of emerging fighters. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Groves and Clev will grow from Mikkel experience. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

While Groves and Cleverly are excellent choices for Kessler to prepare for Froch, the sparring arrangement says more about Groves and Cleverly’s ambition than it does about the Viking Warrior.  We would fully expect Kessler to take this fight seriously by employing the best sparring partners available. In Cleverly and Groves, he has two keen young fighters chomping at the bit to get recognition.

Kessler’s promoter Kalle Sauerland explained that the sparring partners chosen reflect the fighter’s desire to win: “Mikkel is the kind of fighter who always wants to test himself against the very best, no matter whether it’s training or the actual fight.

“Cleverly, Groves and Skoglund – the fact that he wants to get it on with them in training really shows you what the Viking Warrior is all about. When push comes to shove on May 25, the fighter with the better preparation will prevail, and that’s just another reason why Mikkel will leave the ring victorious.”

We expect Kessler to be testing himself in sparring for such a big fight… so we should look more at the British pair and their decision to go to Denmark. Groves and Cleverly are at similar points of their career: both undefeated, young and managed by strong promoters, so they should be starting to reap their rewards in the ring and financially – yet they are not.

Credit - Hayemaker.com

Groves’ big night at the 02 Dome is still his most significant win to date. Credit – Hayemaker.com

Groves has fought a string of lowly ranked fighters since his close decision win over rival James ‘Chunky’ DeGale, as has Cleverly since his win against Liverpool’s Tony Bellew. Despite both of them proving they’re above domestic level they have failed to go on to claim the big fights internationally.

I have no doubt that if George Groves was fighting at light heavyweight and not the stacked super middleweight division he would have won a world title by now, much like Cleverly.  The pair sparring against Mikell Kessler is a shrewd move by both men.

We could easily see Groves calling out the winner of the Froch-Kessler rematch, which would be another big fight in Britain. Groves is testing his abilities against a world class fighter in Kessler, so either his abilities will improve and take on Froch should the ‘Cobra’ win, and if Kessler wins, ‘Saint’ Groves should have experience of fighting the Dane.

Cleverly is probably not in a position to start calling out either man, but he can use the practice against world class opposition in a bid to ready himself should a mega-fight with Bernard Hopkins land. It is ironic, however, that it was Hopkins who earlier this week suggested that a Carl Froch showdown would interest him more as opposed to fighting the Welsh champion.

Preparing Kessler could put himself in a better position to get the Hopkins fight, or potentially face Kessler himself, as the Dane has fought at 175lbs before.

It is fair to say that both Groves and Cleverly need a fight that will take them to stardom. Winning alphabet titles and beating journeymen is fine but the real money and recognition their talent warrants means taking tricky fights against superstars like Froch, Kessler and Hopkins. The decision by both of them to join Kessler’s training camp suggests that the two of them are prepared to make that jump.

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Bellew and Chilemba fight on Froch v Kessler card

10 Apr
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Tony Bellew and Isaac Chilemba will fight again in an official final eliminator for the WBC light heavyweight title on the sold-out Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler bill at the O2 Arena in London on May 25. The pair clashed at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 30 with the contest ending in a draw, and now Bellew says he intends to grab his second chance with both hands.

Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Chilemba (left) and Bellew (right) boxed to a draw. Credit: Lawrence Lustig

“It’s great to have the opportunity to put things right,” said Bellew. “I have to get my head down and work doubly hard in the weeks ahead of the fight to make sure the job gets done properly this time around.

“I’ve had a bit of stick but I can take it and I’ve learned from what happened. It’ll be a different fight this time around – the first fight should’ve been a great one but it just didn’t work out that way. I won’t be making predictions this time, just concentrating on working hard and beating Isaac to land that world title shot.”

Chilemba travels to England once more to tackle Bellew, and the Malawian intends to shock the Scouser on the biggest stage of all: “For most opportunity knocks once, I’ve been fortunate and with my blessing of a second chance I will not leave my future in anyone else’s hands. I believe I won the first fight but that’s now irrelevant – but I will be winning the second fight.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “I’m over the moon to add this fight to a special night of boxing. Both men have a score to settle and I take my hat off to them for agreeing the rematch so quickly. I think you will see a different kind of fight this time, no one will leave it to chance and both need to make a statement this time around.”

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Carl Froch pulverises Yusaf Mack’s ribs, wins emphatically in 3rd round

17 Nov

Alan Dawson – London

Carl Froch‘s first defence of his IBF super middleweight world title was as swift as it was brutal as he knocked American challenger Yusaf Mack out with an acute body punch in the third round of their confrontation at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham on Saturday, November 17. Froch’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports, wants only the elite for Froch in 2013 and spoke of potential rematches with Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.

Direct link to article.

Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Mack
8 9 8

Froch
10 10 10

Official verdict: Froch by 3rd Rd TKO.

Boxing with the Stars and Stripes on his trunks and adopting his trademark slick style with his left mitt low, Mack (31-5-2, 17ko) appeared unfazed at the rowdy reception provided by the partisan English crowd. However, like Lucian Bute in May, Mack had no answer when he was bum-rushed by Froch (30-2-0, 22ko) and suffered a flash knockdown in the first round before looking unsteady and ready to fall a second time mere moments from the bell.

Upon replay, though, the knockdown may have been aided by leg entanglement, but Mack’s body language when on his stool between rounds was that of a man who was shocked at the effectiveness of the bombardment he was forced to endure in the opening three minutes.

In the second round, Froch, 35, varied his jabbing to the mouth and to the gut. Midway through the stanza, he threw combinations to the sides of the Philadelphian’s body and, when Mack had his back to the ropes, there was a fan-friendly kerfuffle as both men swapped heavy leather, explosive bombs and egotistical smiles. While Froch got the better of each argument, Mack was no slouch when it came to retaliation and enjoyed most of his success with his left cross.

Froch worked behind his under-rated jab in the third round and his focus was mostly upstairs as Mack’s adapted Philly-Shell guard prevented access to the body. When Mack let his hands go, though, he left his body unprotected and this became his undoing as he was felled for a second time with a tortuous blow just above the belt-line. The decisive flurry included a right to the rib cage, a left to the body and a left to the skull before Mack submitted to his knees and required paramedic attention – perhaps due to broken, or at least severely battered and bruised, ribs.

“I get my body in A-level condition,” said the ageless Froch to Sky Sports 1 following the official announcement of his win. “If anyone comes in below par – that is what happens to them. Physically I feel at my best, I’m smashing my personal bests in training. Mentally, I’m dealing with these opponents. He didn’t come out sharp, I found my range early and them body shots would have hurt.”

Promoter Hearn spoke of Froch’s future: “[Bute and his management have] got to decide whether they want the fight. We’re contractually obliged to go over there [but] I don’t think there is one super middleweight out there – Andre Ward included – who can beat Carl Froch in Nottingham. Bute, [Mikkel] Kessler and Ward. That’s who we want in 2013 and the more fights in Nottingham the better.”

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Fight Photos: Shumenov defends WBA belt, speaks out on fights with Kessler, Hopkins and Cleverly

5 Jun

Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Photos: Emily Harney – KZ Event Productions

Arguably the least heralded of all the light heavyweight world champions, Kazakhstani 28-year-old Beibut Shumenov successfully defended his WBA/IBA titles on Saturday, June 2 by unanimously decisioning challenger Enrique Ornelas (120-108 x3). Shumenov outclassed the Mexican – a former title challenger at super middleweight and ex incumbent of the NABF middleweight belt – before pondering the offers of three high-profile prizefighters.

Direct link to article.

Shumenov stuck sterling combination punches onto the frame of Ornelas despite his arm injury

At The Joint in Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Shumenov completely shut Ornelas out of contention as he collected the ten score in each and every round even though he was encumbered by an arm injury sustained during sparring, ten days prior to fight night. Ornelas refused to give up, but was too slow to cope with Shumenov, who attacked both the head and body throughout, timed uppercuts to perfection and landed right hands on multiple occasions.

Finding a way through Ornelas’ defence became a matter of routine for the reigning world champion

On the victory, that sees his record rise to 13-1-0, 8ko, Shumenov said: “I trained very hard because I knew he [Ornelas] is very tough. His defence was very good. I wasn’t able to show my best because of the arm injury I suffered. I’m happy with the win.” Ornelas, meanwhile, fell to 33-8-0, 21ko as Beibut secured his fourth successful title defence having also triumphed over Danny Santiago, William Joppy and Vyacheslav Uzelkov since claiming the belts off Gabriel Campillo.

Shumenov with the WBA (waist) and IBA (shoulder) belts, if he fights Cleverly, he could have a chance of adding the WBO

Shumenov, having paid his dues as a representative of the WBA, will now look at a trident of lucrative contracts from one future hall-0f-famer, one former super middleweight ruler and one undefeated star in his homeland. Promoter Don Chargrin confirmed: “We have three great offers from [Bernard] Hopkins (52,6-2, 32ko), [Mikkel] Kessler (45-2-0, 34ko) and [Nathan] Cleverly (24-0-0, 11ko).”

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Groves confirms world title fight with Stieglitz following collapse of respective Anderson and Kessler bouts

14 Mar

Tommy Barber – London

Unbeaten Londoner George Groves has been thrust into a position that belies his relative inexperience as the super middleweight champion of Britain and the Commonwealth has, in the immediate aftermath of his withdrawal of a March 16 defence against Kenny Anderson on medical grounds, been aligned with WBO world titlist Robert Stieglitz in a contest tentatively scheduled for April 28.

Direct link to article.

Fans will have to wait to see the rematch of Groves and Anderson's hotly contested 2010 war

A back injury sustained during a routine sparring session with training partner Eamonn O’Kane prevented Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) from participating in combat this weekend and, of the collapse of the entire Wembley Arena card, promoter Frank Warren said: “In sport, injuries occur and there is very little anyone can do about it. We had already lost Matthew Hall and now with George withdrawing from the main event I have had no option but to postpone the whole card until a later date.”

It was not the only 168lb fight that had gone from booked to scrapped as, just weeks before, Mikkel Kessler had abandoned plans to challenge Stieglitz (41-2-0, 23ko) for the WBO championship… the third time a meeting between the two prominent Europeans had failed to materialise.

“As a boxer, my fists are my biggest weapon,” Kessler commented, citing hand complaints as the catalyst for his pulling out of the April 14 tussle. “To fight and to win at the highest level, I need my hand to be fully recovered.”

Where two fights have fallen apart, one very different match-up can – and has – been made as Groves, who is the WBO’s mandatory challenger, will now be the one to take Kessler’s place and box Stieglitz, albeit at the end of April.

Groves recently confirmed the fight and claimed that the rematch with Anderson could well be for a world title as he has no problem facing the big-hitting tough Scotsman once he has captured honours at world level: “Maybe after I challenge and win the WBO super-middleweight championship [I will fight Anderson],” Groves is quoted by the Daily Mail to have said.

“I’m bringing another world title to Britain.”

Stieglitz, too, has also spoken of the Groves fight, commenting that he is pleased the WBO ordered the contest.

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Nordic Fight Nights to boost boxing in Scandinavia, Kalle Sauerland hails ‘ground-breaking’ partnership

21 Jan

On The Beak – Admin

Viasat and Team Sauerland announced a long-term partnership to further boost professional boxing in Scandinavia. The project, revealed at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday, has a five year strategy as TV3 / Viasat in Denmark, Sweden’s TV10 and Viasat in Norway will broadcast between five and seven Nordic Fight Nights per year, staged in Danish venues, featuring the biggest names and most promising talents in Nordic boxing.

Direct link to article.

Kessler is a Viking Warrior but Scandinavia has a number of emerging fighters. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

“This is a ground-breaking partnership that will lift Nordic boxing to the highest international level,” Kalle Sauerland said. “Our Nordic stars will compete against world-class opponents on a constant basis. We are very ambitious to bring the biggest events to Denmark. Our star fighters will win a lot of titles for Scandinavia.”

The partnership starts with super middleweight Rudy Markussen (37-2-0, 24ko) challenging WBA interim titlist Brian Magee in Copenhagen on February 18. Future shows will likely include ex super-middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler (44-2-0, 33ko), former European super middleweight mhampion Mads Larsen (51-3-0, 38ko), Reda Zam Zam (24-1-0, 11ko), Patrick Nielsen, (12-0-0, 6ko), his brother Micki Nielsen (2-0-0, 2ko) as well as Danish amateur star Torben Keller (1-0).

“Between them they hold a fearsome record of 178 victories, eight losses and 117kos,” promoter Nisse Sauerland said. “They have a KO ratio of almost 66 percent, which is as fascinating as it is intimidating. They will be spreading fear in the international boxing world. Boxing fans will see a lot of exciting fights as we match their stars against the best opponents out there.”

Another integral part of the Nordic Fight Night is WBA/WBC/WBO Female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (19-0-0, 5ko), who is a superstar in Norway. She is slated to defend her titles against Anne-Sophie Mathis (26-1-0, 22ko) in March. “This is the biggest fight in female boxing after Mathis’ crushing victory over Holly Holm,” Nisse Sauerland added. “It will be a top attraction for the Nordic Fight Night.”

On Thursday afternoon, Kalle and Nisse Sauerland presented all nine fighters at the Viasat studios in Copenhagen.

Mikkel Kessler: “That is great news for Danish boxing. There is a lot of talent in this country. If you look at the line-up and our records it is clear that there are exciting times ahead. Together we will make Denmark an force in the world of boxing.”

Rudy Markussen: “I will be kicking off the new partnership with a bang on February 18 in front of my home fans at Broendby Hall. Magee’s title is the first to stay in Denmark and it certainly will not be the last looking at the exciting times that lie ahead.

Mads Larsen: “I am working hard on my comeback. I still have a lot of boxing left in me and I will prove it. It will require hard work and a lot of sweat, but I love being in the gym. I will come back in style.”

Patrick Nielsen: “2011 was fantastic for me. I kept my perfect record, improved as a fighter and on top of that won the IBF Youth Title. The new TV deal means that I can continue where I left it. 2012 will be even bigger, better and more exciting for the Nielsen brothers.”

Micki Nielsen: “It’s an honour to be part of the new concept. I am thrilled to be representing Denmark at the highest international level. I have a KO record of 100 percent and my plan is to keep my record spotless during the Nordic Fight Nights.”

Reda Zam Zam: “Winning my comeback fight after such a long time was one of the sweetest moments of my life. It has made me even more determined. I can´t wait to make up for the time I have lost. I have a fire burning inside me and I can promise my fans exciting fights in 2012.”

Torben Keller: “I am excited to have turned professional. I learn new things every day. The training in Germany is very challenging. Team Sauerland knows how to guide fighters to the top and I am thrilled they believe in me. I will not disappoint them.”

Cecilia Braekhus: “I am ready to take on Anne-Sophie Mathis. That will be the biggest fight in female boxing and certainly the biggest fight of my career. It really fits the Nordic Fight Night concept where the best are fighting the best.”

Erik Skoglund: “This will really boost Swedish boxing. I am thrilled to be a part of the Nordic Fight Nights and I will work hard to be successful every time I step into the ring.”

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Super middleweight elite expected at ringside for Ward v Froch, favour Andre as Super Six winner

15 Dec

Showtime Sports

Saturday’s blockbuster super middleweight showdown between Super Six World Boxing Classic finalists Andre Ward and Carl Froch has captivated the attention of the boxing world – especially those in the 168lb division. Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Lucian Bute are predicting WBA super middleweight champion Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) will be the last man standing and proudly lifting the inaugural trophy in victory come December 17, from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic Citym live on Showtime.

Direct link to article.

Of the recently polled crop of 168-pounders, only Mikkel Kessler feels Froch (28-1, 20ko) has what it takes to hand Ward his first career loss.

Kessler and Abraham are the only boxers who have faced both Super Six finalists.

Dirrell, who served as Ward’s Olympic teammate in 2004 and suffered a tough split-decision loss to Froch early in the Super Six, feels Ward will not be influenced by Froch’s past fights and will stick to a carefully laid-out game plan.

“Ward will make his own assessments from the fights that Froch has had,” Dirrell said. “I believe that Froch has gotten better since he fought me. I believe he’s grown with each fight so it will be a different fight. You could take the game plan that I had and use it against Froch. But Andre Ward is pretty set with his own game plan.”

Dirrell plans to see if his assessments are correct in person. He and his younger brother Anthony – also an aspiring super middleweight contender – will be ringside for the final. Also expected in attendance are Bute and Kessler.

Here’s what a host of top super middleweights had to say about Saturday night’s fight, along with their individual results facing the Super Six finalists:

Andre Dirrell

Super Six Result: Lost split-decision to Froch (October 17, 2009).

“My sense is going toward Ward. I believe Ward will win it – not just because he is a smart fighter but because when it’s time to battle, he knows how to battle. But ultimately, his smarts come into play. He knows how to handle these fighters. It’s almost like he dissects them. He’s pretty in tune to this sport. In every fight he’s had in the Super Six, he’s switched up his game plan and they worked to perfection. He has a game plan for Froch as well. It won’t be easy. I honestly believe there will be a cut in the fight. Andre Ward has his tactics and Froch has his tactics so it’s going to be a rough fight, maybe a few bumps and bruises. But overall, I see Andre Ward winning it.

“This tournament right here, this final right here, both fighters will be put up on the pedestal win or lose. The greatest fighters in this division were in this tournament. Both Ward and Froch have proven themselves very well. Regardless if they win or lose, they’ll both have big things to come after the tournament. I hope for the best for both of them, honestly.”

Arthur Abraham

Super Six Result: Lost unanimous decision to Froch (November 27, 2010) and Ward (May 14, 2011).

“I think Andre Ward is going to win on points. He is tactically better and his style is hard to fight against. I don’t think many fans like his style, though.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be huge for the winner. To be considered the top of the division, the winner should fight Kessler.”

Mikkel Kessler

Super Six Result: Lost technical decision to Ward (November 21, 2009); Won unanimous decision over Froch (April 24, 2010).

“If he does his homework, I think Carl Froch is going to win. He is very strong and he wants to fight. Ward is good and fast, too, but I think Froch will win. He will have learned from the mistakes I did against Ward. So many things went wrong for me that night. Another advantage for Froch is the tournament history – he had some very tough fights that made him even stronger. So my pick is Froch.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be as good as it gets. That is what we all have been fighting for. The winner will be one of the best – not the best because he still has to fight me to prove he is the ultimate champion.”

Glen Johnson

Super Six Result: Lost a majority decision to Froch (June 4, 2011).

“The event means everything to the division. It gave the super middleweight division the most attention – it’s everything. It’s a launching pad, a stage where the best can fight the best and stars are made. There’s no way the division would get this much attention without the tournament and these fights would never have happened. It’s been a wonderful thing for not just the super middleweight division but also for boxing.

“I have to go with Ward in the final. He’s the only guy who’s undefeated in the tournament and he’s found a way to win. You’ve got to give him the biggest chance because of all the guys that fought the top fighters, he’s the only one who stayed undefeated at that level.

“Froch has a puncher’s chance, that’s the only chance I can give him. I don’t think he can win on points – he’s not a fast guy and he doesn’t throw a lot of combinations. Ward has a tough style and Froch is going to have to land some big punches to change the opinion of the crowd. And even though they are both champions, he’s going to have to beat the champ to win. You’ll have to beat Ward to get that credit, and I just don’t see that happening.

“I don’t think Froch is fast enough to keep up with Ward’s combos. There are some people who think Ward has a soft chin, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true. Early on in his career Ward hadn’t adjusted with how to get hit without headgear, but now he has and Froch will only have a puncher’s chance to capture the Super Six Cup.”

Lucian Bute

Current undefeated IBF super middleweight world champion.

“In my opinion, I think Andre Ward will be the winner of the Super Six. He is a smart fighter with good skills and he will avoid the power punch of Carl Froch. The fight is huge for the 168lb division. I want to face the champion of this classic and really reign over the super middleweight division. I’m ready to fight Ward or Froch anywhere, anytime.”

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Matchroom Sport and Antonio Leonard Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona.

Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on December 17. If ticket holders are not able to attend on December 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.

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Bute, Dirrell, Kessler, Johnson, Roach and Steward pick Ward v Froch winner

15 Dec

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Saturday, December 17‘s Super Six World Boxing Classic final, contested in Atlantic City between two super middleweight world titlists – Andre Ward, a champion with the WBA and Carl Froch, of the WBC – is perceived to be a true pick’em fight amongst fans of the sport of boxing and key members of the boxing industry think no differently as, amongst a panel of six experts, three went for the American fighter Ward whilst the other three opted for Froch.

Direct link to article.

Ward (left of belts), Froch on right. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime.

“It’s a close fight,” said Glen Johnson (51-16-2, 35ko), a semifinalist of the tournament who was eliminated by Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) due to succumbing to a decision defeat, however, the Jamaican dubbed the Road Warrior due to his inclination to take on anyone, anywhere, believes venturing into the Boardwalk Hall as the ‘away’ fighter could work against Froch and therefore believes Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) will have the advantage: “I will have to go with the American because the fight is in America and I would assume that he would get the benefit of the doubt.”

Johnson sustained two defeats on the spin as, following on from his loss to Froch earlier in the year, he took on Lucian Bute – the consensus number one 168lb operator who never took part in the Super Six competition. Bute (30-0-0, 24ko) won a shut-out victory against Johnson in Canada and went against his opinion by siding with Froch: “It’s going to be a nice, spectacular and close fight.

“The question is: how Andre Ward will cope with the strength and the power of Carl Froch? If he’s able to handle it, I think he’s got the ability and the boxing movement and I’d go with him. But, let’s see first how he will react when he gets hit by Carl Froch.”

Andre Dirrell (19-1-0, 13ko), a group stage competitor who withdrew citing neurological problems following a disqualification win against Arthur Abraham, boxed Froch in the opening bout but believes his fellow Olympian and fellow American will out-pounce the Cobra: “I got Ward,” he told Esnewsreporting.com. “That’s not being biased against Froch, because he’s a hell of a fighter. But when it comes to ring smarts and tactics, Andre Ward has that department. Froch will come with determination and will, but at the end of the day, it won’t be enough.”

Gritty Danish hard-man Mikkel Kessler (44-2-0, 33ko) who, like Dirrell, boxed Froch in the tournament yet, unlike Dirrell, defeated the Englishman, believes it will be Froch who beats Ward to take the Super Six trophy despite being beaten himself by the Oakland boxer-puncher in the 11th round of their dust-up in 2009.

“I would say that Carl Froch is a very strong fighter and he wants to fight with you,” said the 32-year-old – who challenges for the WBO version of the super middleweight crown in April, 2012, against Robert Stieglitz in Copenhagen, Denmark – whilst a guest on the On The Ropes boxing radio show.

“He wants to stand toe-to-toe and he wants to fight. I like those boxers. Andre Ward, he’s a sneaky guy! He wants to have it his way, always on his home field, and he’s a different fighter. He wants to ruin a fight instead of fighting. He’s a fast fighter. Froch is maybe not as fast, but he’s good mentally in the ring. He’s strong and as you saw against Glen Johnson, he’s getting stronger I think. It’s going to be a great fight and if Carl reads his homework well, I see him as the Super Six winner.”

Five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, who owns the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood that is home to fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr also talked to On The Ropes regarding the ground-breaking Super Six but counters Kessler’s notion: “I picked Andre to win that tournament from the beginning. He’s a great boxer. I think he’s a much better boxer than given credit for. Froch has really looked good though. He’s game and he comes to fight. I think it’s a very good fight, but I picked Ward to be the winner of that tournament and I still stand by that.”

Finally comes the viewpoint of Anglophile trainer Emanuel Steward, who has coached British talent such as Lennox Lewis and Prince Naseem Hamed, and owns the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit. He believes Froch has the mental capacity required to take the win and the tournament.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “You cannot underestimate [Froch’s] talent. A real tough man, and he’s starting to polish his skills now. In the beginning, I never thought he would do anything.”

He continued by appraising Ward: “Ward doesn’t beat people, he knows how to win decisions. They are trying to make him a star but he isn’t there yet. Froch is mentally stronger, and should go out there and hurt Ward.

“Froch is like Dennis Andries. He doesn’t know how limited he is. But he can get right up there in the pound for pound rankings. That’s what is good for him, but I do also think his boxing skills are improving, and we are seeing that fight by fight.”

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Jones Jr, Sugar Ray, Hearns, Calzaghe – the top ten 168lb encounters to date

8 Dec

Steve Farhood – Showtime

On December 17, every eye in boxing will be glued to the super middleweight battle between WBA titlist Andre Ward and WBC titlist Carl Froch, who will clash in Atlantic City in The Final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.

Direct link to article.

The super middleweight division was born in 1984, when Scotland’s Murray Sutherland was crowned IBF champion. Since then, many of the greatest fighters of their generation, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roy Jones, James Toney, and Joe Calzaghe, have engaged in 168-pound title bouts.

Ward-Froch will be the 76th unification bout in boxing, and the sixth at super middleweight. Given the immense stakes, it will be one of the most critical contests in the division’s 27-year history.

To date, the 10 most significant super middleweight title bouts

1. Roy Jones W 12 James Toney, November 18, 1994, Las Vegas (Jones retains IBF title): Those who insist Jones ducked the best available opposition conveniently choose to forget this fight. Toney, 44-0-2, is ranked second pound-for-pound, Jones, 26-0, seventh. Toney drains himself making weight, rehydrates until he is a bag of water, and performs accordingly. Jones scores a knockdown in round three en route to a clear-cut decision win.

2. Sugar Ray Leonard D 12 Thomas Hearns, June 12, 1989, Las Vegas (Leonard retains WBC title; Hearns retains WBO title): The legends are rematched eight years after their historic unification battle at welterweight. While both are past their primes, they produce a thrilling duel, with Leonard, 35-1, suffering knockdowns in rounds three and 11, and Hearns, 46-3, barely surviving round 12. Almost no one agrees with the decision, including Leonard, whose thought before the announcement of the decision is, “The only uncertainty left was the margin of [my] defeat.”

3. Joe Calzaghe W 12 Mikkel Kessler, November 3, 2007, Cardiff, Wales (Calzaghe retains WBO title, wins WBC and WBA Super titles): The Welshman and the Dane fight for three belts before a crowd of almost 50,000 at the Millennium Stadium. In a crisply fought bout, Kessler, 39-0, is stronger for five rounds, but Calzaghe, 43-0, rallies to take a well-received unanimous decision. Having made 21 defenses, Calzaghe is finally recognized as a legitimately great fighter. “I had plans for this fight,” Kessler says, “but he just crushed my dreams.”

4. Nigel Benn D 12 Chris Eubank, October 9, 1993, Manchester, England (Benn retains WBC title; Eubank retains WBO title): Like Leonard and Hearns before them, bitter British rivals Benn, 37-2, and Eubank, 35-0-1, are rematched at a higher weight. (In a 1990 title fight at middleweight, Eubank stopped Benn in nine rounds.) The second bout, fought before 42,000 on sacred grounds at Old Trafford, is a disappointment, with neither fighter willing to take the chances that marked their pulsating first encounter. As it turns out, a point lost by Benn for punching low costs him the win.

5. Sugar Ray Leonard KO 9 Don Lalonde, November 7, 1988, Las Vegas (Leonard wins newly created WBC super middleweight title and WBC light heavyweight title): Fighting for only the third time in 6 1/2 years, Sugar Ray, 34-1, becomes the first boxer in history to win world titles at five different weights. The naturally bigger Lalonde, 31-2, drops Leonard with a right hand in the fourth, but Sugar Ray rebounds to punish the Canadian champion and brutally finish him in the ninth.

6. Joe Calzaghe W 12 Jeff Lacy, March 4, 2006, Manchester, England (Calzaghe retains WBO title, wins IBF title): Despite Calzaghe’s credentials and home field advantage, the powerpunching Lacy, 21-0, is the betting favorite. The bettors are dead-wrong; the southpaw Calzaghe, 40-0, dominates with speed and sharp punching and wins virtually every round. “Long before the finish,” writes Brian Doogan in “The Ring,” “it had become almost unbearable to watch [Lacy] suffer such a beating.”

7. Andre Ward Technical Win 11 Mikkel Kessler, November 21, 2009, Oakland (Ward wins WBA title): In the opening round of Showtime’s Super Six tournament, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Ward, 20-0, making a mammoth jump in class, scores an upset, chopping up longtime titlist and tournament co-favorite Kessler, 42-1. The ringside doctor halts the bout because of a butt-induced cut over Kessler’s right eye.

8. James Toney KO 9 Iran Barkley, February 13, 1993, Las Vegas (Toney wins IBF title): Toney, 33-0-2, becomes a two-division champion with a career-best performance. He utterly dominates Barkley, 30-7, who is two fights removed from defeating Thomas Hearns for a second time. When referee Richard Steele intervenes, Barkley’s left eye is closed, his right cheek is swollen, and he’s bleeding from the nose and mouth.

9. Sven Ottke W 12 Byron Mitchell, March 15, 2003, Berlin (Ottke retains IBF title, wins WBA title): As is often the case, Ottke, 34-0, benefits from home cooking, edging American puncher Mitchell, 25-1-1, by split decision in a unification match. Moving in and out, the German utilizes a pitty-pat attack and survives a rocky moment in the final round.

10.Mikkel Kessler W 12 Carl Froch, April 24, 2010, Herning, Denmark (Regains WBC title): In one of the outstanding bouts of the year, Kessler, 42-2, rejuvenates his career–and strengthens his standing in the Super Six tournament– by edging Froch, 26-0, by unanimous decision. There is little to choose between the two (scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113), but in the later rounds, Kessler is clearly invigorated by the crowd’s support.

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Kessler: If Froch does his homework on Ward he can win Super Six

6 Sep

Denzil Stone – Atlantic City

Should Carl Froch study tape footage of fellow Super Six World Boxing Classic finalist Andre Ward, then he will be able to take the tournament trophy and the WBC/WBA unified super middleweight world championship titles back with him to England, according to tough Dane; Mikkel Kessler who has boxed both fighters. Kessler labeled Ward “sneaky” who is always on his “home field” while Froch is a “very strong fighter who wants to fight“.

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“It’s a difficult fight like all the other Super Six fights,” Kessler said of the Saturday, October 29 showdown between the consensus top two operators at 168lbs; Ward and Froch, whilst on the On The Ropes boxing radio show recently.

Kessler is in the rare position of being able to provide an assessment of both boxers as he, along with Arthur Abraham, have intimate knowledge of both men having shared a ring with them. Against Ward (24-0-0, 13ko), he dropped an eleventh round technical decision due to suffering cuts in 2009, while he overcame Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) in a closely-competed math-up the following year.

Froch, though, Kessler believes, is maturing from fight to fight and learned a lesson from defeat yet Ward has adopted negative and “spoiling” tactics.

Kessler said: “I would say that Carl Froch is a very, very strong fighter and he wants to fight with you. He wants to stand toe-to-toe and he wants to fight. I like those boxers.

“Andre Ward, he’s a sneaky guy! He wants to have it his way, always on his home field, and he’s a different fighter. He wants to ruin a fight instead of fighting. So of course Andre Ward is a great fighter. He’s a fast fighter.

“Froch is maybe not as fast, but he’s good mentally in the ring. He’s strong and as you saw against Glen Johnson, he’s getting stronger I think. It’s going to be a great fight and if Carl reads his homework well, I see him as the Super Six winner.

“I actually think Carl Froch has improved again when he fought Glen Johnson,” Kessler added. “He learned a lesson from his loss. Andre Ward of course learned a lot, too. Ward’s fighting in the States all the time. He should probably learn to fight outside his country sometimes. But of course he is improving every fight, too. I hope he wants to fight Froch, and not have too many head-butts and holding. That’s not what boxing fans want to watch.”

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