Although Irish super middleweight Brian Magee has been in with some of the best of the division, including titleholders Lucian Bute, Carl Froch and Robin Reid, he says he expects his bout with Mikkel Kessler later this year to be his toughest to date.
“He’s at the top, he’s definitely the best,” Magee (36-4-1, 25 knockouts) of Belfast, Ireland, tells THE RING. “He’s one of the most famous boxers in the world at the moment.”
According to a source with the event’s promoter, Sauerland Event, no date or venue has been confirmed yet. However, Magee says it will likely take place in late November/early December in Herning, Denmark, which is the home country of the three-time super middleweight titleholder Kessler (45-2, 34 KOs).
Magee, 37, is no stranger to fighting in his opponent’s hometown. He’s even well adjusted to fighting in Denmark, having defeated Danish contenders Mads Larsen (TKO in 7) and most recently Rudy Markussen (TKO in 5) in their home country.
“At this stage you have to go where the big fighters are,” said Magee. “It’s always been that way with myself. I’ve always had to travel and I’ve always had to do it the hard way and this is no different.
Magee won the interim title last July with a unanimous-decision victory over Jaime Barboza last July in Costa Rica, defending it successfully over Markussen in February before being elevated to “regular” status when super middleweight champion Andre Ward was elevated to “super champion” status by the WBA, freeing up another belt.
Kessler, 33, is coming off an exciting fourth-round knockout victory over Allan Green in May in which he was dropped in the first round, only to rise off the canvas and stop Green cold with one left hook. Kessler has excelled at the top level of the division for a number of years, having defeated Froch, as well as former titleholders Markus Beyer, Eric Lucas, Anthony Mundine and others. His only two defeats — to Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward — come against two of the greatest 168-pounders in boxing history.
“I look forward to fighting Magee,” Kessler said in a press release. “He’s a good boxer with a lot of heart. It takes something to come to Denmark and knock out both Mads and Rudy. But his winning streak will end when we meet. I am very keen to be world champion again and Magee cannot prevent this from happening. It will be interesting as I think it will be a little like a national team match.
“I am a proud Dane and this guy will take a beating for having knocked out my countrymen.”
Kessler’s win over Froch in 2010 during the Super Six tournament earned him the WBC version of the title, but an eye injury kept him out of the ring for 14 months, forcing him to vacate the title.
Magee says he will begin training camp next week in Belfast.
Photo / Rodrigo Arangua-AFP/Gettyimages
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.
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