Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Magee hails Kessler class

Mikkel Kessler, pictured, could face Nottingham's Carl Froch in a rematch next
Mikkel Kessler, pictured, could face Nottingham's Carl Froch in a rematch next

Northern Ireland's Brian Magee paid tribute to opponent Mikkel Kessler after being outclassed in his WBA super-middleweight title bout.

Kessler knocked the wind out of his opponent's sails in the second round with a right to the body that left Magee visibly struggling and the Northern Irishman was given a standing eight count after turning his back following another punch to the stomach later in the round.

Magee's bravery was ended with another body shot, forcing referee Luis Pabon to call a halt to proceedings 24 seconds in to round three. The Lisburn southpaw said: "He is a great champion and he deserved to win. I never recovered from the first knock-down, which was a huge shot from him. I tried my best but couldn't beat him. Congratulations to him."

The win took Kessler's record to 46-2 with 35 knockouts and he said: "It feels great to be champion again. We planned to go to the body and it worked very well. I am back at the very top, I am ready for everybody out there at super-middleweight."

One option for Kessler would be a potential rematch with IBF champion Carl Froch, who has made no secret of his desire for another bout with the 33-year-old after being beaten by a close points decision when the two met in April 2010 in a pulsating encounter.

Froch was a guest pundit for Sky Sports 1 and admitted the fighters' promoters have already been in discussions about a return bout next year, possibly in the United Kingdom.

"I think (a rematch) is already step one completed because they've had a productive conversation and it's looking promising that the fight can definitely happen in the spring or early summer in 2013," he said.

"They'll be talking now in the couple of days following that. The only sensible fight out there for the fans, for the television, for me and for Mikkel is the rematch. The first fight was a humdinger. Everybody loved it who watched it and to get the rematch everyone's going to get excited."

The two are friends and Froch, who defeated veteran Magee in 2006, claimed he was the one to tell Kessler to focus his attack to the body.

"I said to him 'if it's a quiet opening then have a look to his body'," added the self-styled Cobra. "Well done Mikkel, you took my advice well but if you come to the UK you'll be leaving that black belt with me."

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