By Niall Doran
Last night is why I love boxing. What a fight. Carl Froch finally got his revenge he so craved over Mikkel Kessler in a brutal contest in front of a roaring 18,000 at the O2 to claim the WBA super middleweight belt to add to his IBF strap.
Froch started off for the first few rounds boxing behind the jab which seemed to frustrate Kessler early on and certainly was keeping him at bay. In the 4th the action started to pick up a bit with Kessler landing a few of his own shots and Froch seeming to throw more right hands after that ramrod jab he had established which was still working a treat. Midway through the 5th Kessler landed a heavy one two combination on Froch’s chin which the Nottingham man just seemed to shrug off as if it was nothing. In the 6th Kessler again detonated a right bomb on Froch who this time immediately returned fire with a combination of his own. By now the fight had well and truly ignited. In the mid to 8th rounds both men started letting go some very heavy artillery and in the 8th round both fighters were really going toe to toe and had the crowd on their feet. I really liked the way Froch was mixing it up to the body and head and you could see as the fight wore on his was starting to slowly wear Kessler down with his insane level of fitness. The 9th and 10th continued in the same vein with both warriors now really starting to sling from the hips at each other. Probably the hardest sequences of punches came in the 11th when Kessler absolutely rocked Froch right to his boots and made him temporarily do a funny dance with a serious of vicious combinations at the head of the Englishman. Most fighters would probably try to hold and see the round out after that but not Froch, who saw out the round by standing toe to toe exchanging blows. In the 12th and final round we were treated to a brilliant showing from Froch. Having been badly buzzed in the previous round he set his stall out to try to provide a grand stand finish, and boy did he nearly get it in the closing minute of the fight when he sensed Kessler was tired. An epic finish to an epic night of boxing.
What next for Froch? Andre Ward was interviewed at ringside saying he’s very much open to a rematch. But in all honesty would Froch beat him? Maybe if they brought Ward over to the UK and Froch stuck to his boxing with the incredible jab he demonstrated last night in the early part of the fight. Maybe just maybe he could pull it off. What a fight by both men last night, two men who really give meaning to the word ‘warrior’.
Also on the card was Tony Bellew who avenged his draw to Issac Chilemba with a unanimous points decision in a slightly better fight to watch than their last, but in truth still a scrappy affair. I think most people would struggle with someone like Chilemba, who has to be one of the most tricky guys in world boxing. Bellew now solidifies his position as number one contender for the WBC title that will be contested soon by Chad Dawson and Adonis Stevenson. Maybe the bomber could be world champion by the end of the year, you never know in this game.
George Groves was also highly impressive on the under card with a sensational 5th round knockout win over Noe Gonzalez. He now moves to 20-0 (15KO’s) as a professional and seems to really be improving every time he fights. With his excellent ranking in most of the governing bodies rankings, a title shot for the Londoner could be sooner rather than later. Imagine a clash between Froch and Groves? Now that would be a ticket seller!
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