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Last Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007, 05:51 GMT
Profile: Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe celebrates his win over Mikker Kessler
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2007 contender Joe Calzaghe enjoyed 12 months that are a landmark in even his memorable career.

In April he made the 20th defence of his WBO super-middleweight crown against Peter Manfredo Jr in front of a then-record European indoor crowd of 35,000 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Reality soon bit for former "Contender" TV star Manfredo, who was dominated and stopped in the third round.

In October, Calzaghe celebrated the 10-year anniversary of claiming the WBO belt, the Newbridge man extending his reign as the longest-reigning world champion in boxing today.

He joined an elite club of decade-long champions including Joe Louis, Archie Moore, Julio Cesar Chavez, Azumah Nelson, Ricardo Lopez and Bernard Hopkins.

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But perhaps the defining moment of Calzaghe's distinguished career was still to come as he prepared to meet undefeated WBA and WBC super-middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler at the Millennium Stadium.

The highly rated Dane was bigger, stronger, seven years younger, and carried the hammer of Thor in either glove.

Kessler made a strong start to worry the huge 50,000 Cardiff crowd, but 35-year-old Calzaghe rallied, found the tactical shifts to unlock the Dane, and produced a boxing masterclass to claim a convincing points victory.

It was the 44th straight win from the Welshman, but it was this performance that shot him towards the top of every credible world pound-for-pound rankings.

A step up to light-heavyweight now looms for the 2001 and 2006 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

A shot at IBF light-heavyweight champion Clinton Woods is a possibility, while the long-sought super-fight against Hopkins in the USA looks closer to reality than ever.

SEE ALSO
Calzaghe v Eubank - 10 years on
08 Oct 07 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
04 Nov 07 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
05 Nov 07 |  Wales


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