Carl Froch is ready to go to war, so too Mikkel Kessler, with both super middleweight titleholders promising their second showdown, at London’s O2 Arena on May 25, will be every bit as ferocious and titanic as their first.
Denmark’s Kessler, the current WBA titleholder, beat Froch back in April 2010, with a close, albeit unanimous decision. He had home advantage that night but is adamant the outcome will be the same in England this summer, aside from the possibility of finishing off IBF titleholder Froch (30-2, 22 knockouts) inside the distance.
“I feel the same as Carl. When I look at this arena, which is fantastic, I can see this is going to be a massive fight – and I am ready to fight him,“ said 33-year-old Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) to Sky Sports News following a Monday media conference at the 20,000-capacity venue in the Docklands.
“I think you will see the same sort of fight again but this time I will try to knock him out before the end because it was a very hard fight last time. I wanted to give Carl this chance to fight me again – like the rematch I never had against Joe Calzaghe.
“I’m giving him the chance on his home turf. That’s why today I have just got Carl to admit that he lost that first fight fair and square. If I lose on May 25 over here, I will admit it. So, I have told him to be a man… and now he admits that he lost that fight. It’s why he’s here today… but he’s going to lose again.
“I hope everything here in England can be worked out fair and square and that Eddie Hearn, Carl and my promoter Kalle Sauerland will make sure that it’s a fair game, a level field. Carl doesn’t want to win the fight with a bad decision, I know that. And me, too, I want to win it fair.
“And the people in England will see that the Viking is coming here in top shape and that Carl Froch is going down.”
Unsurprisingly, Froch, THE RING’s No. 1-rated super middleweight, is confident of turning the tables on Kessler, who is ranked No. 2 at 168 pounds by the magazine, emerging victorious and avenging one of only two reverses in his career.
“That first fight was brutal – that is the only way to describe it. This is my chance to set the record straight.” said the 34-year-old Nottingham star. “I thought I did enough on the night to win but it was very close and it could have gone either way. He’s the Danish man, fighting in Denmark and he got the nod. Fair enough. He was the better man on the night.
“I wasn’t clinically depressed when he took that world title off me. It didn’t kill me. But it was very bad. It was a hard, hard time for me, getting over that defeat. But that’s why this opportunity for redemption and to make my legacy makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s making my mouth go dry talking about it.
“This means so much to me, and I can’t wait to get in there on May 25. Unfortunately, for Mikkel Kessler, he’s the guy in the other corner. I know he’s going to turn up and be fighting fit. But the difference is that this time I will be at my absolute physical peak. I just know that I will have the edge.
“It’s going to be epic; it’s going to be savage. It’s going to be brutal. It’s going to be unbelievable.”
The British boxing public appear to share their man’s enthusiasm. An astonishing 8,000 tickets for Froch-Kessler II were snapped up within 20 minutes of them going on sale Monday. Sky Box Office’s pay-per-view service will show the fight, which takes place just hours after soccer’s 2013 European Champions League final is staged at Wembley Stadium, north-west London.
Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images