Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Magee aiming for a hat-trick in Kessler showdown

Brian Magee has sealed a massive showdown with Mikkel Kessler for the vacant WBA World super-middleweight title.

Lisburn man Magee, the holder of the interim belt, will receive one of his biggest pay-days when he travels to Denmark to take on former WBA and WBC champion Kessler who landed the WBC light-heavyweight title in his last fight, stopping Allan Green in May in four rounds.

But Kessler has always been a natural super-middle and for the best part of a decade the 33-year-old Dane has been seen as one of the premier fighters in the 12st division — losing narrowly to Joe Calzaghe in 2008, while in 2010 he landed the WBC belt with a points win over Carl Froch — the current IBF champion.

With a record of 45 wins and only two defeats, Kessler will start favourite against Magee, particularly as the fight — expected to take place late November or early December — will be held in Denmark, most likely Copenhagen before a crowd of around 12,000.

But 37-year-old Magee — enjoying by far the best period of his career — is relishing the opportunity to make it a hat-trick of victories over top Danish fighters, having previously stopped Rudy Markussen and Mads Larsen.

Magee said: “I am ready for the hat-trick of KOs.

“I’ve stopped Larsen, I’ve stopped Markussen and now it´s Kessler’s turn. He’s a great fighter, no doubt about that, but I have the tools to break him.

“He ran from a fight earlier in the year after he was ringside and witness to the destruction of Markussen but now I have him and he will go the same way.

“I have already commenced early training and I am working on a fight plan with my coach Bernardo Checa.

“Denmark has been good to me and I am happy to be going back.”

Manager Pat Magee has once again pulled off another money-spinning coup for his fighter and he doesn’t expect it to end when the Lisburn man clashes with Kessler.

He said: “This is a great fight for Brian, it’s a fight that we have wanted for some time and the negotiations have been tough. Kelly Pavlik’s people also wanted the fight and we were prepared to go to America but Kessler’s people came in with a very good firm offer and it makes sense for Brian.

“It’s going to be pay-per-view in Denmark, there’s going to be UK and Ireland coverage, it’s a huge fight for Brian and a win over Kessler leads to more big fights — who knows, maybe a re-match with Carl Froch.

“It would have been nice to have had the fight in Belfast we know that there simply isn’t the money here to make these kind of fights and it’s not a problem for Brian to travel to Denmark again. I’ve no doubt he’ll do it.”

Kessler’s promoter Kalle Sauerland believes Magee can expect a hot reception when he arrives in Denmark, where Kessler is a big celebrity.

“This will be a massive event, I believe the whole country will get behind Mikkel,” said Sauerland said.

“He can become world champion for a record fourth time and restore the Danish boxing pride by avenging the bitter KOs of Rudy Markussen and Mads Larsen. It’s taken a while but now all is signed and sealed.

“Magee will feel the wrath of the Viking Warrior. It’s a question of honour.”

Former champion Kessler added: “I look forward to fighting Magee. He’s a good boxer with a lot of heart. It takes something to come to Denmark and knock out both Mads and Rudy.

“But his winning streak will end when we meet. I am very keen to be world champion again and Magee cannot prevent this from happening.

“It will be interesting as I think it will be a little like a national team match, I am a proud Dane and this guy will take a beating for having knocked out my countrymen.”