Froch's conqueror Kessler withdraws from Super Six
Denmark's Mikkel Kessler, the fighter who took Carl Froch's unbeaten record and WBC super-middleweight title in April, has withdrawn from the Super Six tournament.
The 31-year-old has been forced to pull out of the competition, a series of bouts intended to find the planet's best fighter at 12 stone, due to an eye injury.
Kessler is adamant that the problem, which has been "bothering [him] for some time", will not bring the curtain down on his career - although he has been advised to take a break from the ring for a few months.
"This is the most disappointing moment of my boxing career," Kessler said. "After defeating Carl Froch, I was on the way to win the tournament, so pulling out now really hurts.
"The eye problem has bothered me since the beginning of the Super Six in my preparation for the bout against Andre Ward. It also bothered me in the fights against Ward and Froch, and in my training for the fight against Green it has become unbearable.
"I have consulted leading experts in Denmark and Germany and they have advised me to take a break from boxing so that the problem can heal. I have been assured that it will heal completely and that I will be back in the ring next year.
"As a fair sportsman, I do not want to delay the Super Six, which is still the best thing that has happened to boxing for a long time. I wish my fellow contestants the best of luck - may the best man win. I will be there to fight the winner in 2011."
Super Six organisers Showtime have not revealed how they intend to deal with the loss of Kessler - who was due to fight Allan Green in his next contest - but it could augur well for Froch's chances of progression.
After losing to Kessler on points, Froch was under severe threat of elimination from the tournament if he failed to beat Arthur Abraham in his final fight of the group stage.
Now, if Kessler is not replaced, Froch may find himself in the semis even if he is defeated in his battle with Abraham on October 2.