Mikkel Kessler-Robert Stieglitz Back On For April 14th - Bigger Fights Await “The Viking Warrior” If He Can Win

By James Slater: It’s been announced as official by a few sources (including that Danish hero Mikkel Kessler’s postponed challenge of Russian-born Robert Stieglitz for his WBO 168-pound belt will go ahead on April 14th of next year. Originally set for Copenhagen on November 5th, the fight was postponed due to a hand injury suffered by 32-year-old Kessler. Now fully healed and raring to go, the former WBA (twice) and WBC (twice also) king, is looking forward to fighting in his homeland next spring.

Stieglitz’ strap may be third or even fourth down the pecking order compared to the other major belts at 168 - and Kessler is in the running for some much bigger fights with the likes of Carl Froch (in a sought-after return match) and Lucian Bute if he can beat Stieglitz - but 30-year-old German-based fighter is a formidable opponent. Could Stieglitz even pull off the upset and defeat “The Viking Warrior?” With a fine 40-2(23) pro record to his name (the two losses coming way back in 2007 and 2008), Stieglitz is a proven fighter, and he will be making the fifth defence of his title against Kessler.

Naturally, going by his pedigree and the fact that he will be boxing at home, Kessler is the favourite to win. The fight could well be an entertaining, lively affair, though. Stopped both times in defeat, Stieglitz has since won nine straight, with four of these wins coming via stoppage. And though he has never met anyone of Kessler’s class, the reigning WBO boss has seen off good men like Karoly Balzsay and, last time out, Khoren Gevor. Stielglitz’ two losses came at the hands of Alejandro Berrio (TKO by3) who he also holds a win over, and Librado Andrade (TKO by8). What problems can the Russian give Kessler?

Kessler, having his first fight back since undergoing major eye surgery, looked sharp and accurate in his June stoppage win over the tough but outclassed Mehdi Bouadla. That 6th-round TKO pulled in a massive T.V audience in Denmark, showing how mega popular Mikkel is in his homeland. The win over the Frenchman also gave his loyal fans hope that their hero can reach the very top of his division once again. The climb begins with the challenge of Stieglitz.

As good as Kessler looked against Bouadla, there are still question marks over how much the Dane has left. Is his eye 100-percent? Is he as fast and as durable as he once was? Stieglitz, while not a huge puncher, is certainly capable of asking Kessler some serious questions. At 44-2(33), Kessler may be coming towards the end of a long (and largely glorious) career.

When it comes to motivation, Stieglitz can be relied upon to be massively “up” for this fight. Will Kessler, expected to win, have as much motivation driving him on? Maybe the bigger fights that are very much in the pipeline for the Dane will serve to give him added motivation? The defending WBO champ has good boxing skills and he is strong physically. But Kessler is a very special fighter indeed - at least he was. Whether or not he still is, we will be given some clue next April.

Both men will be entering the ring having had a lengthy time out of action (10 months of inactivity for Kessler, a full year for Stieglitz). Rust could be a problem for both, but I like Kessler to win on points. Stieglitz is a very live underdog, though - no doubt about that.

Article posted on 22.11.2011

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