Earlier tonight at the O2 Arena in London, England, Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KOs) retained his IBF super middleweight title with a close but decisive win over former conqueror and two-time titlist Mikkel Kessler (46-3, 35 KOs).
The two first met in 2010, when Kessler outpointed Froch for the WBC title during the Super Six World Boxing Classic. For the rematch, Froch once again came in as champion, but this time around, he would remain one.
True to his word, Froch started off a little bit faster compared to the first fight. Using his long jab, he set up some power shots from the outside and kept Kessler from mounting much of an offense. Froch’s workrate was simply superior, and in the second round, laned a hard right hand that seemed to buzz Kessler. However, Kessler, who’s know for having a strong chin, began to grow in confidence and by the middle rounds, found his footing.
Kessler seemed to be getting in a rhythm by the sixth round, and managed to land sharp punches up the middle, while making Froch miss with winging hooks. To Froch’s credit, he took Kessler’s power punches well and managed to keep coming forward, perhaps discouraging Kessler. Going into the final four rounds, Froch clearly took back control of the fight, despite getting rocked in the eleventh round.
After twelve exciting rounds, Froch came away with the unanimous decision with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113. 3MoreRounds also had it 116-112 for Froch.
“In the first fight I was backing up, I was letting him dictate the pace and I was letting him push me back,” said Froch after the fight. “I was very, very effective with my jab. I was meeting him as he came in and I was being aggressive with the jab and I was looking him in the eye to let him know when he comes forward I was gonna meet him with punches, and that was discouraging him.”
Kessler had discussed the possibility of retirement should he lose the fight but remained non-committal after the fight.
On the other hand, Froch called out super middleweight champ Andre Ward, who was at ringside to call the fight with the HBO crew.
“He’s the only other guy to beat me, so that’s a fight I know I can win,” Froch said. “Obviously, I don’t think it’s gonna be easy. I’m not saying if I fight Andre Ward next I’m gonna beat him, but I could beat him if I get it right. And in England, I get it right, so let’s get him over to the United Kingdom and let’s get the fight on next if he wants it. Let’s do it.”
In response, Ward said he would be open to any fight, but would need to be worth his time.
“I don’t know if it would be in the U.K. or if it would be in the United States, but Froch’s promoter needs to show how bad he wants it here. They need to understand I don’t have to come here. If I come, it’s because I want to and I need a reward,” said Ward.