Carl Froch defeats Mikkel Kessler on points in epic rematch at O2 Arena
By Richard Damerell. Last Updated: 10/09/13 10:38am
Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler: Served up another thriller (photo courtesy of Lawrence Lustig)
Carl Froch gained revenge over Mikkel Kessler with a thrilling points win after the super-middleweights served up another epic battle at the 02 Arena in London.
Froch had been defeated by Kessler on points in 2010 and their rematch was also a thriller as both men were hurt before the Nottingham man deservedly took the verdict by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113.
With his latest victory, Froch added the WBA belt to his IBF title and can look forward to more big-name fights, though his rival - and good friend - could be nearing the end of a gruelling ring career.
Froch speared Kessler with stiff jabs in the opening minute, but the Dane responded with crisp jabs of his own as both fighters tried to find their range.
There were roars from an expectant crowd as Froch unleashed a fierce flurry which left Kessler backpeddling at the end of the opener.
Froch forced home more jabs in the second and a right hand briefly troubled Kessler, who was struggling to gain a foothold.
'The Cobra' sensed his opponent's vulnerability and Kessler was knocked off balance by another brutal barrage; Kessler's defences were being breached by punches from all angles in the third and his face was bearing the brunt of constant punishment.
"He did hurt me a couple of times; I think everybody saw that. But I hurt him a little bit more and I thought I deserved the win. I thought it was unanimously my fight."
However, Kessler slowly warmed to the task, beginning to finally resemble the warrior who waged war in their first fight.
A double jab reddened Froch's nose in the fourth and then a left hook and a body shot thudded in as Kessler continued where he left off in the fifth.
Froch responded in ferocious fashion in the sixth and a right hand ripped into Kessler, but his opponent replied with a thunderous left hand. The cleaner work was now coming from Kessler and a crisp combination forced his opponent onto the back foot.
Froch needed an answer to the assault and it came in the seventh when a left hook drew blood from his rival's nose. A searing three punch-combination then threatened to unravel Kessler and he was left on unsteady legs as right hands were fired in at him.
The pair were standing and trading as they had done in Denmark by now. Kessler beckoning Froch forward in the eighth and he duly obliged, raining down heavy punches.
Froch appeared to be pounding the fight out of Kessler until he responded with a right of his own, but the British fighter merely shrugged off his best punches. Kessler appeared ready to crumple as Froch unloaded his heavy armoury.
But the defiant 'Viking Warrior' marched out for the ninth and landed some crisp rights, though in the next he failed to have much of an impact after an early left.
There was a strut in Froch's step in the 11th as he spat out accurate jabs, but Kessler suddenly caught him off guard with a countering right that left Froch wobbling, yet somehow he remained upright.
The final round was a fitting end to the battle with a left hand from Froch sending Kessler back toward the ropes. Froch pounced, unloading punch after punch, with referee Pete Podgorski taking a concerned look.
But Kessler survived to hear the final bell which drew cheers of appreciation from the packed out crowd.