Carl Froch Vs Mikkel Kessler: London's 02 Arena was packed to the rafters last night as over 19,000 fans cheered on Nottingham's Carl Froch to victory against arch-rival Mikkel Kessler of Denmark in a bout for the WBA and IBF super middleweight titles.
The duo were reprising their 2010 slugfest in Herning, Denmark, won by Mikkel Kessler, who had pushed back a less active Carl Froch from behind the jab.
Carl Froch had spent the last three years vowing to one day turn the tables on Kessler and got the opportunity once the Dane signed the contract to come to England for the rematch.
From the first bell, it would prove to be a different Carl Froch that Mikkel Kessler was facing as "The Cobra' immediately began pitching jabs from his low-slung left hand, keeping Mikkel Kessler at range with the punch and good footwork.
This largely took away Kessler's vaunted right to the body, which had managed to destabilize Froch in the first bout, and allowed Froch to go forward and launch his wide shots from all angles.
Mikkel Kessler tried to narrow the distance with a body jab but was clearly bothered by Froch's long left. Near the end of the first, Carl Froch scored with a hard right but Kessler came back with a spearing right to the body followed by a left hook upstairs.
Froch again led the way in the second with his ever-present jab, shooting inside to go to the body and dish out awkward combinations before getting back outside. The Nottingham man shook up Kessler near the end of the frame with a left hook to the body and a right to the head but Kessler evaded the local man's attempt to better his work.
By the third, Carl Froch was clearly outworking his rival, mainly with the jab. Things began to heat up when Froch got in a couple of rights but took a hard shot to the midsection in return. Froch wasn't dissuaded and went on to score with a left hook, right and a body-head combination. Since getting hurt in the second, Kessler was much more defensive.
Carl "The Cobra" Froch drove Mikkel Kessler back with a combination to open the fourth but the Danish tourist turned the tables on his antagonist, working behind the jab and becoming aggressive. Kessler made Froch miss, getting in good combinations and going to the body, landing a left hook to the midsection and then a sharp sequence there.
The fifth opened as a battle of the jabs before Mikkel Kessler went on to clip Froch with a pair of wide left hooks. Froch retaliated with a right but then took a hard one in return from Kessler. A nice jab from Froch but he misses a wild right. Kessler digs in with a left to the body but catches a left hook to the head in return. Froch rallies late in the round but Kessler scores with a combination near the bell.
Carl "The Cobra" Froch begins the sixth by getting in a combination before Kessler is cautioned for straying low with a shot. When the action resumes, Kessler nails Carl Froch with a pinpoint right hand, the Englishman returns fire with a nice left hook. Good exchanges follow before Froch starts up the jab. Froch is starting to rabbit punch in the clinches.
The seventh features good two way action as Froch is successful with a combination before Kessler lands rights to the body and head. Left hooks are then traded. Kessler continues to go to the body with a left hook but gets caught with a left to the head and then a right. Kessler volleys back with a left hook, Froch answers with a right before absorbing a right hand to the ribs.
Kessler opens an eventful eighth stanza with a crisp right hand but Froch shakes it off and gets in a right followed by a combination. Kessler whips in a left hook to the head, Froch fights back with two rights before both score with the same punch. Kessler clips Froch with a right hand before a good exchange breaks out. The round ends after two Kessler left hooks and two Froch rights.
Things slow down somewhat in the ninth but Kessler is landing shots, including a good combination. Carl Froch rips off a good left before Kessler follows suit. Right hands are traded, commencing a period of solid two way action.
The tenth picks up where the ninth left off, Kessler spearing Froch with a left downstairs before going to the head with the same shot. Kessler lands a combination but Carl Froch slings in two left hooks before the pair are off to the races again.
Good action in the eleventh as Kessler gets in a body combination, The Cobra retaliating with a right. A swapping of left hooks opens a hostile exchange. Froch reels off a pair of rights before both fighters score with left hooks. Kessler catches Froch with a hard body shot and hurts him with two big rights. Carl Froch cut above the eye but rallies back by the end of the round.
The 12th and final round sees Froch busier, landing a combination then a right. Kessler gets in a combination but both fighters missing with most of what they throw. Kessler goes on the offensive with a combination and then a big right.
Left hooks are traded, Froch gets in a right, left and then another right. Kessler gets revenge with a combination until The Cobra scores with a right. Kessler answers back with the same until Froch draws up the reserves to go on a tear in the final seconds, tottering Kessler but the Dane doesn't go down.
When cards are read, IBF king Froch sweeps all three with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and a rather wide 118-110, gaining Kessler's WBA belt.
Carl Froch, now 31-2 (22), won the fight by basically outworking Kessler, 46-3 (35). The Dane landed at a much higher percentage but threw about half the punches, sealing his fate in this rematch.
The undercard saw light heavyweight Tony Bellew, 20-1-1 (12), outpoint Isaac Chilemba, 20-2-2 (9), 117-112, 116-112, 116-112 in a rematch for the WBC Silver crown while super middle George Groves, 19-0 (15), halted Noe Gonzalez Alcoba, 30-3 (22), in the fifth.