Sport : Boxing

Carl Froch on revenge mission

4th February 2013, 03:12pm

Carl Froch (l): Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow

Carl Froch (l): Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow

The recurring memory of his first ever professional defeat is keeping Carl Froch on message ahead of his rematch with Mikkel Kessler.

The Nottingham-born IBF super-middleweight champion was on the wrong end of a result for the first time when he was beaten by Kessler in Herning, Denmark back in April 2010.

It was a loss which left Froch at one of his lowest ebbs, meaning the chance to exact revenge on the teak-tough Dane is driving him ahead of their May 25 showdown at London's O2 Arena.

They met in North Greenwich to launch the unification bout on Monday morning, and, even though Froch has since won, lost and won a world belt again, he remains scalded by what happened three years ago.

"Mikkel inflicted my first professional defeat on me and that was a bitter pill to swallow. When my head hits the pillow at night, I think about it still," the 35-year-old said.

"He took everything away from me. My career was in tatters. I have worked back to winning a belt, people in boxing know how hard I have battled to do that, but I needed the chance to avenge that defeat.

"This is a chance for me to do that and also secure my legacy."

While it is not unusual for a fighter to talk himself up as a great, Froch's recent record stands alongside the best.

He has taken on the likes of Lucian Bute, Glen Johnson, Kessler, Jermain Taylor and Andre Ward over the past three years, with his resume one worthy of respect.

He has propelled himself to the forefront of British fight fans' minds too, with his all-action, never-say-die style endearing him to many.

Froch has promised another thriller this time as well, adding: "If I was asked to give one word to describe our rematch then it would be savage.

"There is going to be a bloody aftermath because neither of us will want to concede any ground. This is going to be gigantic."

Kessler, whose only previous appearance on British soil came when he lost to Joe Calzaghe in front of a barmy 50,000 crowd at the Millennium Stadium in 2007, has given Froch the rematch he believes the Welshman should have given him.

It was the defining night of Calzaghe's career but left Kessler nursing one of two career losses - like Froch, his only other defeat came against Andre Ward.

His victory over Froch last time came after a bloodbath of a brawl. He gave Froch a broken nose and despite the 'Cobra's' attempts to punch back, he was beaten by the judges.

Froch initially called the result a "sham", believing hometown favour had been shown, and Kessler today asked him to retract those comments.

"What I want is for Carl to say I was right, I beat him," he said.

"I also told him that I never got the rematch that I wanted with Calzaghe, so would give him one. He came to Denmark and fought me so I come to London to fight him.

"I want to show myself as a real fighter, I am in incredible shape and am desperate to get it on."

Despite the big night being nearly four months away, Matchroom Sport reported that all of the 17,000 tickets had been sold within two hours of going on sale.

Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn believes the draw of the Champions League final taking place at Wembley on the same night will help generate a carnival atmosphere, and Froch is keen to cash in.

He did concede that Kessler had beaten him fair and square in Scandinavia but added: "The fight was close. I got beat on the night but I take into account where we were. Had that fight been in Nottingham then I might have got the close rounds. That's what you expect in any sport.

"In this fight, the ending will be written as it should have been."

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