I’m not Santa! The only knee you’ll be sitting on is your own!

Northern Irish opponent makes festive rallying call ahead of his bout against Mikkel Kessler this Saturday in Herning

There will be a lot at stake for Mikkel Kessler this Saturday night when he fights Brian Magee at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning, Jutland. While the WBA super-middleweight title stands vacant and is there for the taking, the Dane is particularly keen to hand out a dose of vengeance in the name of national pride.

Magee, 37, is brimming with confidence following his two previous successful trips to Denmark to beat Mads Larsen and Rudy Markussen. Magee, a product of the much-acclaimed Northern Irish school of boxing, has won 34 of his 39 bouts, 24 by knockout, while sustaining just four losses.

The Belfast man is hoping that his southpaw stance and tenacious style will silence the crowd in Herning while quashing Kessler’s dreams of a merry Christmas.

“I’m no Santa,” Magee said cheekily as he arrived in Denmark. “Kessler won’t be receiving any gifts, only a couple of hard packages in the ring. Denmark is a special place to box. The fans are passionate and are fantastic at supporting the Danes. But it doesn’t intimidate me, it fires me up. If you’re a footballer, I think you’d love to play in front of a packed Old Trafford or Camp Nou.”

But 33-year-old Kessler has youth and statistics on his side. Magee’s last two losses, to Lucian Bute in 2011 and Carl Froch in 2006, have come against opposition who Kessler has beaten. Although Kessler, who has 45 wins and two losses, may be rusty after returning from a series of injuries.  

He sustained a career-threatening eye injury before injuring his hand in training and hasn’t fought over six rounds since defeating Froch in 2010. All of Magee’s losses, on the other hand, have come after at least ten rounds, so the Dane could be facing a marathon of a fight − something he hasn’t endured for several years.

Pundits have been quick to point out that Kessler should consider retiring if he loses on Saturday, but the Viking Warrior has no plans to hang up his gloves just yet, indicating that he still has many goals in the sport.

“First step in the mission will happen on Saturday. Brian Magee has beaten two of my old friends, Mads Larsen and Rudy Markussen,” Kessler told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “So Magee, this is personal. I’ll take this one for Denmark and for myself – I still have much to prove before I’m through with boxing.”