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Froch v Kessler as it happened

ROUND-BY-ROUND COMMENTARY (all times BST)
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By Ben Dirs

2308: Can Froch come back from this? I'm not sure he can keep having fights like that. He's got Arthur Abraham next, and he could be even tougher than Kessler. Win that and he's into the semis of the Super Six... simple as that... many thanks for all your chat, speak soon...

2304: Cracking fight, but I don't think Froch can complain too much about the result, although he might have a word about that 117-111 card, that seems very wonky to me. He certainly doesn't seem too aggrieved. Big raps to Mikkel Kessler - there were those who thought he was washed up, but the Viking's still chugging. Lots of chat on 5 live about why Froch was pulling his punches with his right hand - Steve Bunce reckons it must have gone in training, but Richie Woodhall, who'd been monitoring his progress in the build-up up in Sheffield, says there were no such problems...

MIKKEL KESSLER BEATS CARL FROCH BY UNANIMOUS DECISION - 117-111, 115-113, 116-112

2256: What a tremendous fight that was, a real cohones-out encounter. Kessler's camp look far more confident than Froch's, they reckon he's got it...

Round 12: It could be that Froch needs something grandstand in this final round, and his corner are telling him he might need to stop Kessler to keep his title. Hold onto your hats... Froch evading Kessler's jabs with a twitch of his neck, before Froch gets through with a sharp jab. Both men look exhausted, Froch winning this round... Kessler back with an almighty left, it's gone berserk... huge right with 30 seconds to go from Froch, Kessler totters backwards... it all goes Rocky in the final seconds, not sure how to sc ore that final round. Kessler's connections certainly think their man has won it from their celebratory reactions, and Froch certainly isn't sure, he asks trainer McCracken "have I won it?" For the record, I've got Kessler nicking a barnstorming fight. BBC score: Froch 10-10 Kessler

Round 11: I've got Kessler two rounds ahead now, but the judges might be seeing things differently. That's a cavernous cut Kessler's got over his left eye, and he was definitely affected by that in the last. Quiet opening from Froch, not sure that's wise at this stage. New lease of life from Kessler, and Froch is letting him nick this round. Two stiff rights from Froch, but he lunges again and Kessler comes blasting back as it goes bar-room. Huge right hand explodes flush on Froch's chin, or was it the neck, either way he took it well. Froch on the front foot towards the end of the round, and he may have done enough to take that one. BBC score: Froch 10-9 Kessler

Round 10: Nasty cut Kessler's got, that's been reopened from the previous fight with Ward. Can the claret inspire the champion? Froch targeting the left eye with his right hand, and he snaps Kessler's head back with a big left. More urgency from Froch, Kessler all of a sudden very ragged. Froch's round, and he desperately needed it.BBC score: Froch 10-9 Kessler

Round Nine: Froch needs something big now - they're in Kessler's back yard, and I've got the Dane a couple of rounds ahead. Froch cut to the nose and Kessler's cutting loose now. Good body shot from Kessler, not much coming back from Froch. Better from Froch, befuddling the challenger with a flurry to the head. Kessler working the body with that right hand, Froch blowing hard and blinking. Sharp left form Froch, he needs more of that, but that's a sweet uppercut from the Dane. Kessler cut around the left eye, but that has to be another round for Kessler... BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round Eight: Getting down to the nitty-gritty now, Froch has to start making Kessler work harder. Kessler with a right-hand counter, Froch not landing with much at all. Froch reaches with the right and he's wobbled by an overhand right from Kessler. Froch in danger here, he's pinned in the corner and it looks like he might be cut. Great powers of recovery from Froch, and what a chin, but that's another round for Kessler, he's in the ascendancy now... BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round Seven: Froch needs to up his work-rate here, this is too tight for comfort at the moment. Froch backed up into a corner and Froch's jab is a limp imitation of his opponent's at the moment. The cleaner work from Kessler in this round, doubling up with the jab, before landing with a left down the pipe. Cheeky shot to the back of the head from Kessler, but the ref takes no action. The crowd think Kessler's got that one, and I'm inclined to agree. BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round Six: Looks like the ref made the right decision on that knockdown, not sure anything landed. Kessler bleeding slightly from the nose, but that's a smart right hand from the Dane. Kessler to the body now, he's up for this round. Kessler loads up with a big left hook, and this is a ragged round from the champion. Froch on the ropes now, Kessler looks energised. Froch clips him with a short right, but Kessler comes back with a smart left-right combination. That's the Dane's round. BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round Five: "Be busier," says McCracken in Froch's corner, Kessler looking pretty calm in his corner. Good right form Froch, followed by a ramrod left. But it's still Kessler coming forward, and the judges might like that. Froch has got him down! No, Kessler was backpedalling and it's ruled a slip. Good left hook from Kessler, but that's a fantastic combination from Froch, stiffening Kessler up with a huge right over the top right on the bell. Froch's round surely... BBC score: Froch 10-9 Kessler

Round Four: No great mysteries about Kessler, he's a straightahead fighter who relies largely on a stiff jab - Froch needs to start backing him up. Kessler finds the mark with a flurry of jabs, Froch gets through with two stiff right hands. Simmering now, Kessler landing with a big left hand before Froch retaliates with a hurtful right. Ragged from Froch, leaving himself open, and that's Kessler's round I believe... BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round Three: They sound worried in Froch's corner, trainer Robert McCracken imploring his man "to take Kessler's jab from him". Two quick jabs from Kessler at the start of the round and he continues to stalk his man. A couple of decent body shots from the champion, followed by a whippy right hand that hits the spot. Froch ups his work-rate towards the end of the round and that was better from the holder, should be his round. BBC score: Froch 10-9 Kessler

Round Two: Wild right hand from Froch... Kessler landing with a couple of jabs, but Froch hits back with a sharp right. But it's Kessler walking forward, as is his want, with Froch happy to bounce around on the back foot. Kessler with a flurry on the bell, and he probably took that on work-rate alone. BBC score: Froch 9-10 Kessler

Round One: Cagey opening as you might expect, with Froch happy to stay on the back foot and do a spot of fact-finding for the first minute or so. Flashing right hand from Froch, before the Englishman gets a talking to for hitting on the back of the head. Kessler gets through with a couple, only for Froch to shake his head. I'd give that to Froch, but they're in Kessler's backyard... BBC score: Froch 10-9 Kessler

2201: National anthems now, a lady called simply Karen, a popular Danish R&B artist apparently, singing the home one. On that evidence, the crowd have had a few. The locals give respect to God Save The Queen, until the very end when they dissolve into boos. Jimmy Lennon shows off with a spot of Danish, and they'll be throwing leather in a couple of minutes.

2157: A distinctly British atmosphere at the Messecenter, and Froch isn't saved the boos as he makes his way to the ring in his familiar Grim Reaper hooded cloak. We Will Rock You segues into Welcome To The Jungle, and Froch is in the ring...

2154: Kessler looking a touch tense, but you might expect that, he's about to go 12 rounds with some double-hard bloke from Nottingham. He's in the ring, now for the champion...

2152: We're very nearly ready to rumble in Herning - ring girls in place, cheeky sideways wink from the one nearest camera, stirring stuff. Here's Jimmy Lennon Jr, and here comes Kessler... mobile phones flashing, bit of hard rock, Kessler appears in silhouette, and 'the Viking' cometh...

2147: "We mustn't underestimate the effect of the Danish crowd," says Steve Bunce on 5 live - he was in Denmark to see Brian Nielsen take Mike Tyson seven rounds in 2001, and there were 40,000 fans in that night. Not many friendly faces in the crowd for Froch tonight, but he'll still be able to hear his missus Rachael, you could hear her in a hurricane-force wind. The crowd buzzing now, here comes Kessler...

Tommyboy, Glasgow, via text on 81111: "Froch's ego is writing cheques his body can't cash. Kessler to win on points or by late stoppage."

2141: They've gone to Herning on 5 Live, and Mike Costello says it's a "carnival atmosphere" in the 10,000 capacity arena. The final prelim fight is over, Froch and Kessler should be in the ring in 10 minutes or so, maybe less...

RJJ, Notts, via text on 81111: "Being from Nottingham, I would love to see Froch win the Super Six, staying undefeated. However, his defence is quite frankly poor, shocking at times, and he has yet to dominate a serious contender at 168lb. Dirrell hurt Froch a few times in their bout, Taylor had him down and hurt, and I see Kessler hitting much harder than Mr Dirrell and Taylor. Would love Froch to prove me wrong, but Kessler TKO 11."

Shaun via text on 81111: "Kessler will not be able to back Froch up. He will be less effective and get walked down. He will be stopped inside 10."

Mark, Co. Antrim, via text on 81111: "I think Froch is afraid that if it goes all the way that the partisan atmosphere might influence the judges' count in Kessler's favour. If he tries to end it before a count, then he might wilt in the later rounds. Come on Carl, make us proud!"

2130:Dan (see below), for a horrible moment there, I thought you'd written something else... a prediction? Kessler by split decision... why do I do it to myself...?

Dan on 606: "I just realised that we're all here on 606 potentially making mugs of ourselves with bold predictions, and Dirsy's getting away scot-free! Come on Ben, let's have a predo."

2125: If you've got a radio, you might want to listen to Mike Costello's commentary on 5 live rather than read this. I believe he's got former super-middleweight world champion Richie Woodhall with him, and maybe Steve Bunce, but I can't say for sure.

Abbas via text on 81111: "This is the end of the Road for the COBRA! Carl Froch is going to be a Grass Snake after tonight."

aberdeen on 606: "Neither boxer has great movement, both have been found out by boxers with better footwork, so I anticipate a war in straight lines and for me Froch wins that. Watch him target Kessler's eye as well, staying up top most of the fight. If I was Kessler I'd be trying to get Froch's body on the angles, but I don't think Kessler has the skill for this."

Adam via text on 81111: "Froch to win in nine. Put a cheeky £50 on it earlier so I shall be a very popular man at the boozer tonight should it come good!"

2115: Herning may be pretty rural - its population is 46,000 - but they're expecting 10,000 in the Messecenter tonight, Kessler's a pretty big star in Denmark. The Scandinavian nation has had a few decent fighters down the years, with heavyweight Brian Nielsen probably the best-known. Nielsen feasted on a raft of over-the-hill American names in the 1990s, including Larry Holmes and Tim Witherspoon, and lost to Mike Tyson in 2001. I hear he's thinking about making a comeback, with Evander Holyfield on his wish-list. Deary me...

2108: Scrap that - 5 live are kicking off their coverage at 2135 BST, so we've got a way to go yet. Get involved on 606 in the meantime - the link is on the top of the page - or send us your texts...

2103: This is Froch's 26th pro fight, and he's won every one of them, scoring 20 knockouts along the way. Kessler is one year younger at 31, but he's older in boxing terms - 42 wins and two defeats for the former WBA title-holder, with 32 knockouts.

Paul, Canada, via text on 81111: "The word around the campfire after the Ward fight is that Mikkel Kessler is shot. I don't agree but he certainly isn't the same fighter who fought Joe Calzaghe. That said, Carl Froch needs to be MUCH better tonight than he was against Andre Dirrell. Carl either by late stoppage or points."

Dan on 606: "What a great fight this should be. Two powerful, aggressive punchers with rock-solid chins and a point to prove. Kessler wants to show that he's still a force at 168lb, whilst Froch wants to prove he's the best in the world at his weight. Should be a barnburner."

Silvamaine on 606: "If Kessler works behind his jab and manages to pick off Froch with his power-shots, then he should be able to win. But I can see Froch wanting to dictate the pace and set a very demanding work-rate, forcing Kessler to dig-deep into the later rounds."

Qaz via text on 81111: "Fact of the day: Carl Froch claims his nose has never been broken. I'm gonna bet £100 that changes tonight."

2051: Both men looked in outrageously good shape at yesterday's weigh-in, with Kessler the lightest he'd been for 14 fights. But the Dane was made to look pretty sluggish by the slick Andre Ward last time out and there were suggestions his best days were behind him. However, don't expect Froch to be as elusive as Ward - he's never been particularly hard to hit - and I'm expecting this to unravel into an all-out war...


2043: As far as I'm concerned, this is pretty much a pick 'em fight. I know a lot of the British newspaper boys are backing Froch to stop Kessler in the middle rounds, but I'm not sure it's going to be that easy - I'm predicting yet another long, gruelling night for Froch. As for the bookies, William Hill have Froch at evens, Kessler at 8-11 and the draw at 22-1. Froch on points is 10-3, Froch by KO or stoppage 5-2...


2040: Hello ladies and gents, and thanks for joining me for what could be a screamer encounter in Herning, Denmark - Nottingham's Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler for Froch's WBC super-middleweight belt. Victory for Froch would virtually assure him a place in the semi-finals of the Super Six tournament - a loss, and he says he might hang them up. Boxing's nasty like that...



see also
Kessler snatches title from Froch
24 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Froch 'gutted' after Kessler loss
25 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Froch v Kessler photos
24 Apr 10 |  Boxing
BBC man on Froch-Watch
23 Apr 10 |  Boxing
BBC man on Froch-Watch
22 Apr 10 |  Boxing
BBC man on Froch-Watch
21 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Froch-Kessler certain to go ahead
19 Apr 10 |  Boxing


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