Team Sauerland regrets to inform the boxing world that WBC Super Middleweight Champion Mikkel Kessler has been forced to pull out of the Super Six World Boxing Classic due to an eye injury. His title defence against Allan Green in Herning, Denmark on September 25 has been cancelled.
“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.”
Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Ken Hershman expresses his disappointment for Kessler but assures the boxing fans around the world that the tournament will go on.
“I commend Mikkel Kessler for his decision,” said Hershman. “He has made a wise choice in light of his doctors’ recommendations and he is showing tremendous respect for his fellow competitors and for the tournament format itself.
“We will publicly address how this turn of events affects the tournament in the coming days. I assure you we will make the best of this scenario. In fact, I have been aware of Mikkel’s situation for a few days and I have a vision for how we can proceed that will enhance the excitement of the tournament.
"First, I must have some internal discussions but mark my words, the drama of the Super Six will be unrelenting and we will crown a champion in the early part of 2011.”
Promoter Kalle Sauerland said Kessler did “absolutely the right thing.” He stated: “You can recover from losing in the ring but you cannot recover from losing your health. There is nothing that is of bigger importance than the boxer´s health.
"As much as we regret to see Mikkel pulling out, he was left with no other choice. He should take all the time in the world to recover. He can take comfort in the fact that he looked reborn in his last bout. Once he is recovered, he will continue where he left off. The Viking Warrior will be back.”
Added Team Sauerland General Manager Chris Meyer. “We are saddened to see Mikkel pulling out but his health is more important than anything he could win inside the ring. The WBC will probably make him “champion emeritus” so that he can fight against the reigning champion once he is ready to come back.”
Highly-reputed eye specialist Professor Dr. med Gerhard Lang, who is the Director of the Eye Hospital at Universitätsklinikum Ulm and also served as the 2010 World Ophthalmology Congress President, examined Kessler and believes a proper rest is all the “Viking Warrior” needs.
“Mikkel said he has been bothered by problems with his vision during the fights against Ward and Froch as well as in the training in the build-up to these fights. There is a weakness of the superior oblique muscle of his left eye. To continue boxing, the muscle needs a proper rest, meaning no fighting or sparring for nine months. After this break, a complete recovery is expected.”