• Super-middleweight

Froch secures Kessler rematch

ESPN staff
January 15, 2013

IBF super-middleweight champion Carl Froch has declared 2013 "the year of the rematches" after securing a unification showdown with Mikkel Kessler - likely to be at the O2 Arena in London - this summer.

Froch, out to avenge his points defeat by WBA champion Kessler in 2010, expects the fight to take place on May 25 and has promised the Dane a "rude awakening" before he turns his attention to fixing a second showdown with Andre Ward.

"I'm delighted that the announcement's finally been made," Froch told Sky Sports News. "Froch-Kessler II is on - it's going to be one of the biggest fights in Britain for the last ten years, bar none."

Froch and promoter Eddie Hearn had been in a race against time to arrange a unification bout with the Danish WBA champion before Tuesday's deadline to avoid having to face mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson.

The 35-year-old has been desperate for the chance to avenge his defeat by Kessler in Denmark in three years ago, agreeing to fight outside of his native Nottingham to entice the Dane to the UK.

"I don't blame him, he doesn't want to come to Nottingham," Froch said. "I didn't go to Copenhagen, which is where he's from. London is seen as more of a neutral venue.

"I've got a lot of respect for Kessler. He's a warrior like myself, he's a tough fighter. Stylistically, we're made for each other. It's perfect - we both like to fight, let shots go, we don't hold and slip and slide so much, we stand in range and just try and take each other out."

Froch, who on Monday admitted he may have four fights left in him before retiring, is determined to put the disappointment of his defeat by Kessler behind him after admitting he was affected by the haphazard build-up to the fight.

A volcanic eruption in Iceland left travel plans in chaos, and Froch flew to Denmark by private jet just two days before stepping into the ring.

"Anyone who saw the first fight didn't see the best of me, and they saw the absolute best of Mikkel Kessler," Froch added. "Kessler's in for a rude awakening in the rematch.

"My final preparations were really hindered. I had to take a bit of weight off, which I've never done. I wasn't myself - I jumped in the ring thinking I was going to knock him out and he's a tough old Dane.

"He calls himself the Viking Warrior for a reason, and I couldn't get him out of there, and I didn't have the energy to finish him off late on.

"The first time he won a close decision, beat me fair and square, he was the better man on the night. I want to set the record straight. I cannot wait to start training."

Asked what he would want from a victory against Kessler, Froch declared: "It's got to be another rematch.

"Mikkel Kessler got a win over me in Denmark and Andre Ward beat me in America. I fought him in his homeland, and it'd be nice to get him in a rematch.

"The guy with the right frame of mind going into this fight with Mikkel Kessler and myself needs to be thinking about the rematch with Ward.

"That for me would be the year of the rematches, and that would put my legacy firmly intact. If I wanted to hang my gloves up then, I could do quite happily."

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