Mikkel Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) is now a five-time world champion after defeating Northern Irishman Brian Magee (36-5-1, 25 KOs) in snowy Herning on Saturday night. Magee entered the ring as the WBA Super Middleweight title holder (following an upgrade in November) and was defending his crown for the first time. He exited less than ten minutes later, doubled over in excruciating pain following an assault of body blows from the Viking Warrior.
Round one saw a give and take that didn’t add up to much for either fighter. Kessler, however, clearly noticed an opening to exploit and went on to institute a body attack in earnest in round two. Twice, Magee succumbed to punishing rights to the midsection, turning his back on Kessler before dropping to one knee. Back on his feet, the round quickly ended.
Round three began as the second one ended. A Kessler right to the body dropped Magee and referee Luis Pabon stopped the bout just 24 seconds into the round. The boxing fates seemed against Magee from the outset. It was a night that only a Jutlander could love, with freezing wind whipping the snow. The Northern Irishman’s supporters failed to materialise, with virtually the entire 10,000 in attendance at the Jyske Bank BOXEN arena backing their Danish hero.
With the win, Kessler exacted a measure of revenge for Danish boxing. Twice Magee came to Denmark and defeated highly-touted fighters in Mads Larsen and Rudy Markussen. The third time proved no charm and at 37, Magee’s boxing future now looks cloudy. Kessler, on the other hand, appears set for a summer rematch with the US’s Andre Ward, who handed him one of his two career defeats in the Super Six competition in 2009. That fight, held in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California, ended controversially in a technical draw due to severe cuts around Kessler’s eyes in round eleven. Ward, ahead on all cards at the time of the stoppage, was declared the winner. Kessler is keen for another crack at Ward.
“Andre Ward knows that he owes me a rematch,” Kessler said through his Team Sauerland management. “That was not the real Viking Warrior in the ring on that night. Ward had better get ready.”
Slightly confusingly, Ward is also a WBA Super Middleweight title holder (as well as WBC and The Ring), but he is classified as a 'super' champion, while Kessler is now the regular champion.
Following Kessler's victory, there have also been several reports linking him with a rematch against Carl Froch, the Englishman who Kessler beat in the Super Six in 2010. Froch is the current IBF super-middleweight champion.