Mikkel Kessler’s Kingdom

mikkel kessler22.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Mikkel Kessler, 39-0 with 29 KOs from Denmark first thought about becoming a fighter at the age of thirteen when he saw heavyweight Brian Nielsen fight on television. As with most youngsters who dream of sports glory Kessler first latched onto an image and then convinced his parents to let him participate.

“My mother took me and two of my friends over to the C.I.K., a local boxing club,” he remembers. “My first impression of the gym was that it stank of sweat and the trainer was an old rough, bowlegged man. His name was Richard (Olsen) and he cursed a lot and smoked cigars. That day changed my life forever.”

The grouchy trainer took the young fighter under his wing and has been with him ever since. Kessler progressed rapidly after an amateur career of 44-3 and won his first title belt on November 29th, 2002 when he beat former WBC super middleweight champion Dingaan Thobela over twelve one-sided rounds for the IBA championship. He then dispensed of that belt and won the World Boxing Council International title in April of 2003 by knocking out Craig Cummings in the third round. But it was when his stable mate Mads Larsen had to pull out of a world title challenge against World Boxing Association champion Manny Siaca that Kessler truly arrived. He stepped in for his friend on short notice and won the title when Siaca failed to answer the bell for the eighth round.

Injuries to both hands and his back derailed his momentum for a while but in October of 2006 he knocked out Markus Beyer in the third round to take the WBC belt. It was then that Kessler began making noise about fighting WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe.

“Ever since I started my goal has been to be the greatest boxer in the world. I want to conquer all the big guys and the reigning champions so I can be undisputed. That’s why I never hesitated to call out Calzaghe after I knocked out Beyer. Once I beat Joe on November 3rd people will call the super middleweight (division) ‘Kessler’s Kingdom’.”

Kessler’s last fight came against rugged Librado Andrade. The “Viking Warrior” showed off a remarkable left jab and crisp straight punches in pounding out a twelve round decision victory over his iron chinned opponent. It’s those weapons, particularly the jab, which is one of the very best in boxing that Calzaghe will have to contend with, along with the Dane’s sturdy jaw.

“Andrade was so tough,” Kessler says. “I don’t think Calzaghe is as tough. His punches have speed but no real punching effort.” (Kessler is obviously alluding to Calzaghe’s habit of sometimes slapping with his punches).

As he continues his preparations for the biggest fight of his career Kessler maintains an even emotional keel. He never seems to get over anxious or betray any emotion other than confidence in his abilities.

“I’m already in great shape,” he insists. “I also don’t need to use (insults) or respond to all of Calzaghe’s aggressive words in the press. I know November 3rd will be the biggest challenge of my boxing career, but I don’t suspect Calzaghe to become my toughest opponent. I know how to beat him and I will become the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.”

In other words on November 3rd the “Viking Warrior” believes he will christen the super middleweight division as ‘Kessler’s Kingdom’.

Article posted on 23.10.2007

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