After months of verbal battles and endless hype, it’s time for the talking to stop on May 25 as Carl Froch touches gloves with Mikkel Kessler in a huge world title-unification fight at the O2 Arena in London.
The super-middleweight rematch brings Europe’s finest face-to-face again a full three years since they went toe-to-toe in an absolute classic in Denmark.
Froch is putting his IBF super-middleweight title on the line while Kessler defends the WBA strap and the fight can be seen live via pay-per-view on Sky Sports Box Office for £14.95.
Froch-Kessler II sold out the O2 Arena in a matter of hours following its announcement and fight fans are expecting a brutal slugfest from beginning to end.
The pair have history after Kessler wrestled the WBC super-middleweight belt from Froch in April 2010.
The Dane bested ‘The Cobra’ in front of his home fans, taking the title with a unanimous points verdict.
It extended Kessler’s flawless home record which remains unblemished to this day.
Outside of Denmark, however, the ‘Viking Warrior’ has a less impressive figure.
In his 15 years as a professional boxer, Kessler has fought just five times on foreign soil, and of those he has emerged victorious on three occasions.
His solitary trip to Britain ended in a comprehensive defeat to Welshman Joe Calzaghe in 2007.
At 28-years-old, Kessler still had plenty to fight for following that loss, but, at 34 coming into this bout, he has hinted that defeat to Froch could spell the end of his time in the ring.
Froch has no intention of hanging up his gloves any time soon, however.
The Nottingham man has since regained – and lost – the WBC title Kessler took from him that night in 2010, and is currently the IBF champion, while the Dane has overcome career-threatening injuries to pick up the WBA strap.
Defeat is unlikely to taint the career of either man, while victory could set up a re-match with Andre Ward, to whom both have lost.
Froch comes into this bout off the back of brutal and comprehensive victories over Lucian Bute and Yusaf Mack.
The past 18 months have seen the Brit recover from his defeat to Andre Ward in the final of the supersix tournament in 2011 in emphatic fashion.
His stunning victory over Bute sent out a warning to the likes of Kessler that he was far from finished on the world stage.
He recently said he was in the shape of his life coming into this fight and will be eager to silence the estimated 5,000 fans travelling over from Denmark.
The Cobra has declared that this bout could be the biggest British fans have witnessed in a decade.
Froch v Kessler II is the main course on a thrilling night of international boxing with two great undercard bouts in prospect.
George Groves is moving closer to a world title shot and the unbeaten super-middleweight takes on the unknown Noe Gonzalez, which is the chief support to Froch v Kessler II.
Groves holds the Commonwealth title but admits that after 18-0, he believes he is ready to take on the very best.
He says he will happily take on Froch in Autumn whatever the outcome, but knows he needs to show the rest of the world-class super-middlweights what he can do.
Also in action will be Tony Bellew as he faces Isaac Chilemba in re-match of their WBC Light-Heavyweight Eliminator fight.
Bellew was bitterly disappointed after being held to a draw by Chilemba in March, but he hasswiftly landed another shot at the Malawian on the O2 bill.
The fired-up Liverpudlian tried to overwhelm Chilemba with an early onslaught in last month’s clash, but was made to look crude as he struggled to pin down his elusive opponent.
The winner of the light-heavyweight clash was set to challenge Chad Dawson for the WBC title and Bellew will be hoping to make amends for a disappointing display in front of his hometown fans.
All three fights, along with other selected undercard bouts, will be shown during Sky Sports Box Office’s five-and-a-half hour broadcast, starting at 8.00pm on Saturday, May 25.
Full TV details below:
Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler will meet again in arguably the biggest fight of the year and it will be exclusively live via pay-per-view on Sky Sports Box Office.
It is the first time that Sky Sports has put one its major boxing shows on pay-per-view in nearly two years, after bosses had pulled the plug on regular PPV events following David Haye’s disappointing contests against Audley Harrison and Wladimir Klitschko.
Drama and sporting entertainment is guaranteed however, in this battle between Froch and Kessler, with another classic brawl in the making and both expecting to win and whatever the outcome.
This fascinating battle of Europe’s finest on the same night as the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, which preceeds the big fight on Sky Sports 1, and is arguably the headline act on a massive line-up of sport on the box over the weekend of May 24-26.
British boxers George Groves and Tony Bellew are also in action on the undercard, ensuring fight fans are in for a cracking night of international boxing.
Live coverage on fight night begins at 8.00pm, with Dave Clark will lead the Sky Sports presentation team from a studio overlooking the vast O2 Arena where almost 10,000 fans are expected to be in attendance for one of the sporting highlights of the year.
Analysis, opinion and comment will be provided throughout the night by Johnny Nelson, Glenn McCrory and special guest David Haye.
Big fight commentary will come from Ian Darke and Jim Watt, while Adam Smith and Ed Robinson will conduct the ringside interviews.
Matchroom Sport, co-promoters of the fight, have confirmed that legendary announcer Michael Buffer will call Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler into the ring with his unique ‘Lets get ready to rumble” catchphrase.
The Hall of Famer, who has announced more than 500 world title fights in over 30 countries, is excited to be part of what he thinks turn out to be “the fight of the year”.
There are several ways you can book the fight – via your TV, online or over the phone – see below.
Froch v Kessler II is priced at £14.95 for UK customers (€21.95 in ROI) and is available to Sky and selected cable customers.
Live coverage is available to watch in high-definition on channel 752, or in standard-definition on channel 731.
Sky subscribers can only record full live coverage of the fight via Sky+ if the event ordered by your Sky Remote.
Replays of the fight will be shown at various times on Sunday and Monday, which are also priced at £14.95.
If you are a Sky customer, you can book this event in one of three ways – via your Sky remote control, by phone or online (Sky Box Office terms and conditions apply).
Cable customers should contact their cable operator for more details on how to book the fight.… BY PHONE – available now
To order the event call 08442 410888. There will be £1 booking fee for telephone bookings. There is a £5/€5 surcharge for bookings made via the phone from midnight, Friday, May 24 to midnight, Saturday, May 25.… VIA YOUR SKY REMOTE – from May 18 at 8.00pm
Press box office, Select sports and events. Use the arrow buttons to highlight the event. Press select and the buy screen will be displayed. Press select to confirm your order. Enter your pin if prompted.… ONLINE – from Monday, May 20
To book from Monday, May 20, go to Sky Sports Box Office website. There is no surcharge for online bookings.
In the build-up to Saturday’s big fight night at the O2, Sky Sports will screen a number of special preview programmes.
First up on Monday evening, Sky’s head of boxing Adam Smith presents ‘Froch v Kessler I – The Tactics’, a look back at the first meeting between the two in 2010.
He will be joined by big fight commentators Ian Darke and Jim Watt to discuss the tactics used when Froch and Kessler first met in Denmark as well as discuss those they should use in their upcoming bout.
Two editions of ‘Behind The Ropes’ follow on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first of which focusses on Carl Froch.
Sky Sports cameras go behind-the-scenes with Froch and his training camp ahead of the big fight, featuring interviews with the key names and personel that are aiding Froch in his quest for glory.
Then on Wednesday, attention turns to Kessler’s pre-fight preparations as the Dane gets himself in shape for Saturday’s huge fight night.
Sky’s weekly boxing magazine show Ringside returns for special edition on Thursday night, where presenters Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson, along with special guests, are live inside the O2 to give their take on what lies ahead.
The final word in the build-up to the fight, which will include footage from the pre-fight weigh-in plus further opinion from the Sky Sports team.
Further fight night previews, analysis and opinion from the Sky Sports experts and video content can be found on the dedicated Sky Sports Froch v Kessler II website – skysports.com/froch.
On Twitter, @SkySportsBoxing will provide regular updates and special behind-the-scenes photographs and features.
Monday 20th May Froch v Kessler I: The Tactics 6.30pm-7.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Tuesday 21st May Behind The Ropes: Carl Froch 6.00pm-6.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Wednesday 22nd May Behind The Ropes: Mikkel Kessler 7.00pm-7.30pm – Sky Sports 2 Thursday 23rd May Ringside: Froch v Kessler Preview 8.00pm-9.00pm – Sky Sports 1 Friday 24th May Froch v Kessler II: Weigh-In LIVE: 1.00pm-2.00pm – Sky Sports News Froch v Kessler II: The Final Countdown 8.00pm-8.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Saturday 25th May Froch v Kessler II Featuring: Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler II – WBA & IBF Super-Middleweight titles George Groves v Noe Gonzalez – Super-Middleweight contest Tony Bellew v Isaac Chilemba – WBC Light-Heavyweight Eliminator LIVE: 8.00pm-1.30am – Sky Sports Box Office Sky Sports Box Office (ch 731) / Sky Sports Box Office HD (ch 752)
Televised fights only 8.15pm Tony Bellew v Isaac Chilemba WBC Silver Light-Heavy Champ & World Final Eliminator (12 x 3-min) 9.30pm approx George Groves v Noe Gonzalez International Super-Middleweight Contest (12 x 3-min) 11.15pm approx CARL FROCH v MIKKEL KESSLER IBF & WBA World Super-Middleweight Championship (12 x 3-min) Live Float 1 (not before 8.30pm) Martin J Ward v Andy Harris Lightweight Contest (6 x 3-min) Live Float 2 Callum Smith v Ryan Moore Super-Middleweight Contest (8 x 3-min)
If you do not have access to Sky Sports’ pay-per-view offering, then tune into BBC Radio 5 live on fight night to listen to live commentary of the entire fight.
Colin Murray will present commentary of Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler in their WBA super-middleweight title re-match, live from ringside at the O2 Arena in London.
Fight commentary will be led by 5 live boxing correspondent Mike Costello alongside former world champion Ricky Hatton and boxing journalist Steve Bunce.
Coverage will available to listen to online alongside live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.