Boxing: Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler promise 'epic' rematch

Pair to fight at the O2 in May

Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler today promised an “epic” May showdown as they came together to launch their rematch fight.

The super-middleweight duo went face-to-face at London O2 Arena to announce a unification fight on Saturday May 25, a bout many are predicting to be one of the tear-ups of the year.

Kessler inflicted Froch's first professional defeat on him when he beat him on a unanimous decision in his home country of Denmark in April 2010, with fight considered to be one of the most brutal in recent memory.

Both men are renowned for their heart-on-their-sleeve, all-action style, and take two of their rivalry is expected to be no different, with Froch, who also lost his world title that night, desperate to make amends.

He has since won, lost and won that world title again - memorably getting the IBF belt against Lucian Bute last May - and he wants to make sure there are no tears this time around.

"When my head hits the pillow on a night I still think about the defeat to Mikkel," he said.

"I think about it because he took away my world title and my career was in tatters. I have since avenged it by coming back, but that was a bitter pill to swallow and I need to make amends.

"Mikkel is an honourable man and I thank him for coming over for what will be an epic contest."

The box-office fight will come on the same night as the Champions League final at Wembley, but according to promoter Eddie Hearn, that is a good thing.

Hearn, who heads up Matchroom Sport, has worked with Kessler's promoters Team Sauerland to make the fight and believes that fight fans are going to be in for a memorable night.

"Many people have reminded me it's the same night as the Champions League but that is very deliberate," he said.

"There is a great footfall of people watching sport that night, it's a tried and tested formula and we are going to give people a great sporting event.

"We expect to sell out the O2 with 17,000 people and it has given me enormous pleasure to bring these two warriors together."

Hearn was quickly reporting that ticket sales had gone through the 8,000 barrier inside the 20-minute mark, with those numbers justifying the hype surrounding the fight.

Kessler's only other appearance on British shores saw him beaten by Joe Calzaghe in front of 50,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium - the defining night of the Welshman's career - and the 33-year-old is glad to be heading to London.

He is still irked that Calzaghe never gave him a rematch after a unanimous decision went against him and has granted Froch a second bite of the cherry with that in mind.

"I am ready for this. I never got a rematch against Calzaghe and I told Carl that I would do the honourable thing and give me one.

"I told him it would happen and now I'm here and I am ready."

Froch's last outing saw him despatch American Yusuf Mack in three rounds in Nottingham last November, while Kessler saw off rugged Irishman Brian Magee over a similar distance.

PA

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