Boxing: 'Proud warrior' Kessler stuns Froch with relentless assault

The Cobra lacks venom as Viking Warrior grabs his super-middleweight crown

Carl Froch lost his WBC super-middleweight title to Denmark's Mikkel Kessler last night in a battle that was as memorable as it was brutal. Nottingham's Cobra was himself stung by the relentless aggression of an opponent cheered on by a frenzied crowd of 10,000 in the small town of Herning who saw their man live up to his label of the Viking Warrior to take a unanimous points victory.

After 12 rounds and some savage exchanges which curdled the blood, the ringside judges, two from Belgium and one from Italy, scored the bout 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. I agreed with the last total by the Italian, who made Kessler the winner by two rounds, and it was a verdict that brought no real complaint from Froch, defeated for the first time in 27 contests.

Froch did well in the early rounds but was never really off the back foot and could not effectively counter Kessler's left jab. Both fighters ended with cuts around the left eye but the real damage was done to Froch's pride. "I feel terrible," he said. "I am gutted. But I feel that if the fight was at home it would have gone the other way."

In defeat Froch showed he had a big heart – and a granite chin. "I took some big punches off a big puncher. I give Kessler all the credit he deserves. He's a proud warrior. He stayed in there and dug in."

Kessler forced the fight all the way through and had the greater variety of punches which undoubtedly swayed the judges despite Froch himself landing some heavy shots out of a defence that was held alarmingly low.

The fight was part of the Super Six series round-robin competition between six of the world's top super-middleweights. It is run on a points system, with two for a win and a bonus point for a KO or stoppage. The top four in the table advance to the semi-finals in New York. So far all the bouts have been won by home boxers.

Froch, as always, was fighting for the wider recognition he craves. Understandably, even in glorious defeat he feels aggrieved that unlike Britain's two other world champions, Amir Khan and David Haye, he seems to be snubbed by mainstream TV. "I had to come to the backyard of a man they said was the hardest out there yet none of the major channels were interested," he said. "It's a disgrace."

The heavily tattooed Dane, a year younger than Froch at 31, gave Calzaghe a tough fight three years ago when the Welshman ended his unbeaten run with a hard-fought points victory. It was said he was not the same man, especially when he lost his title to American Andre Ward. He proved that wrong in dramatic fashion.

Froch's next opponent in the series – in Nottingham – is likely to be German-based Armenian Arthur Abraham, ominously another hard man.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015