Boxing


Calzaghe-Kessler World Title Unification Set for Nov 3

joe calzagheIn arguably the biggest world title unification fight between non-heavyweight world champions since the Sugar Ray Leonard-Tommy Hearns rumble of 1981, undefeated super middleweight champions JOE CALZAGHE (43-0, 32 KOs), from Newbridge, Wales, and MIKKEL KESSLER (39-0, 29 KOs), from Copenhagen, Denmark, will finally step into the same ring to determine the undisputed world champion! Promoted by Frank Warren's Sports Network, in association with Team Palle, the Calzaghe-Kessler world title unification fight will take place Saturday, November 3, at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

"This is the only fight I want because a victory over Kessler will mean the most to my career at this point. More than the beating I gave Jeff Lacy when we unified our titles, and even more than my win over Chris Eubank, which began my world title reign 10 years ago," said an excited Calzaghe. "I'm No. 1 in the division today and I'll be No. 1 in the division after we fight. November 3 can't come quick enough"

"I'm delighted that Joe will make his historic 21st World Super-Middleweight title defence against Mikkel Kessler," stated Warren. "It's a landmark occasion for Joe and the history of British boxing where he can tie the consecutive super middleweight title defence record by beating the most worthy opponent on the planet. This is a true world title fight."

Calzaghe, boxing's current longest-reigning world champion, will make his landmark 21st consecutive title defense -- tops among active world champions -- which would tie him with super middleweight champion Sven Ottke at fourth place on boxing's all-time list, behind heavyweight champion Joe Louis (25), light heavyweight champion Dariusz Michalczewski (23) and strawweight champion Ricardo López (23)

Calzaghe celebrates the 10th anniversary of winning his title just a few weeks before his battle with Kessler. "The Pride of Wales" captured the vacant WBO title, October 11, 1997, knocking down two-time world champion and British boxing legend Chris Eubank twice en route to a dominating unanimous decision on scores of 118-109, 118-111 and 116-111. Though his résumé boasts victories over former world champions Charles Brewer, Byron Mitchell, Robin Reid and Richie Woodhall, nothing compares to his victory over IBF/IBO champion Jeff Lacy, where he unified the title fighting a masterclass against previously undefeated champion who was the first 2000 U.S. Olympian to win a world title. The victory was so emphatic -- Calzaghe won every round of the fight -- and so important to the division, The Ring magazine conferred its prestigious championship belt upon the new unified champion, the first time in the division's 22-year history that The Ring has ever recognized a super middleweight as its world champion.

Calzaghe, 35, returns to the ring after successfully defending his title on April 7 for the 20th consecutive time, stopping top-five contender Peter Manfredo Jr., in the third round, at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. With over 35,000 fans in attendance, the Calzaghe-Manfredo fight shattered the indoor European record for a boxing event. The victory elevated Calzaghe into a fifth-place tie with former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and former middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins on the all-time list for successful consecutive title defenses.

Kessler, 28, has steamrolled and plundered the division much like his Viking ancestors did during the dawn of the New World. The "Viking King" captured the WBA super middleweight title November 12, 2004 by destroying defending champion Manny Siaca. Leading on scores of 70-62, 70-63 and 69-64, Siaca retired in his corner after the seventh round. Kessler has successfully defended his title four times since, two against former world champions Anthony Mundine and Eric Lucas, followed by a sensational third-round knockout of defending WBC champion Markus Beyer, last October, to unify the titles. In his last fight, on March 24, in his first defense of his WBC/WBA titles, he schooled undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Librado Andrade (24-0, 18 KOs), winning on scores of 120-108 on all three judges' cards.

Tickets will go on sale at 8.30am on Thursday 12 July from See Tickets on +44 (0) 870 060 3794

Article posted on 12.07.2007



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