Froch beats Kessler to retain IBF super middleweight title

LONDON Sat May 25, 2013 8:51pm EDT

Britain's Carl ''The Cobra'' Froch holding the WBC super middleweights belt celebrates with wife Rachael Coardingly after defeating Germany's ''King'' Arthur Abraham in their WBC super middleweights title bout at boxing event of Super Six World Boxing Classic in Helsinki November 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva

Britain's Carl ''The Cobra'' Froch holding the WBC super middleweights belt celebrates with wife Rachael Coardingly after defeating Germany's ''King'' Arthur Abraham in their WBC super middleweights title bout at boxing event of Super Six World Boxing Classic in Helsinki November 27, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Carl Froch got his revenge with victory over Denmark's Mikkel Kessler in a unanimous points decision to retain the IBF super middleweight title in a thrilling clash at a packed 02 Arena on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Froch, who lost to Kessler in Denmark three years ago, put on a typically gutsy performance to win with a scorecard that read 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110 in favor of the Nottingham fighter to the delight of the 20,000 crowd.

Froch's record is now 31-2, with his only other defeat coming at the hands of American Andre Ward in Atlantic City in 2011, compared to Kessler's 46-3 after an action-packed fight that saw the Dane hanging on near the end of the final round.

"It feels really, really good, only thing that feels bad is I have had to beat a real gentleman and a nice man, Mikkel Kessler," Froch told Sky Sports. "It's 1-1 now, who knows do you fancy a third one? Best of three maybe?

"I deserved to win, but he won't lie down for any man and massive respect to him," added Froch before turning his thoughts to a possible rematch with unbeaten WBA title holder Ward who was watching at ringside.

"The winner of this fight should be moving on to avenge their other loss and now I move on to the second best boxer in the world," said Froch. "Let's get Andre Ward over to the UK and fight him here."

The 34-year-old Kessler, whose only other defeats were against unbeaten Welshman Joe Calzaghe in 2007 and Ward in 2009, said: "I gave it my all but didn't have the energy and couldn't cope with Carl. It is nice to fight such a warrior."

(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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