IBF super middleweight titleholder, Carl Froch, of Nottingham, England, weighed 167.9 pounds compared to 166.74 for WBA titleholder Mikkel Kessler, of Copenhagen, Denmark, in advance of Saturday’s HBO-televised clash at the O2 Arena in London.
In April of 2010, Froch, 34, was dethroned as the WBC beltholder by Kessler, 35, via unanimous decision in their bloody first bout as part of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic. Kessler is 43-0 in Denmark, while Froch is 26-0 in England.
Nicknamed “The Viking Warrior,” Kessler earned his fourth straight win and his third consecutive stoppage victory with December’s third-round knockout of Ireland’s Brian Magee in Herning, Denmark. Froch also owns an 11th-round knockout victory over Magee from May of 2006.
GARY RUSSELL JR. CLEARED TO RETURN TO FULL TRAINING
Featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. (22-0, 13 koS), of Capitol Heights, Md., a speedy southpaw who turns 25 in June, has returned to full training following a diagnosis of a hairline fracture in his left hand which occurred during his unanimous decision over Vyacheslav Gusev on March 2.
Trained by his father, Gary Russell Sr., Russell is scheduled to return to action against an opponent to be determined on the July 13 undercard of the Bernard Hopkins–Karo Murat IBF light heavyweight title fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“I’m always in the gym with my dad and my brothers, and the hand injury didn’t change that,” said Russell, in a prepared statement.
“I focused a lot of my training on strength and conditioning work over the past two months, but I was definitely ready to start punching again and we are back 100 percent now.”
ESPN.com reported that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaer is attempting to line up former WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KOs), of Mexico City, for Russell. Gonzalez, 31, is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Daniel Ponce de Leon in September that dethroned him as WBC 126-pound beltholder and ended a 12-fight winning streak that included 11 knockouts.
MARCOS MAIDANA-JOSESITO LOPEZ UNDERCARD TAKES SHAPE ON SHOWTIME EXTREME
A full undercard of action is expected on the June 8 roster from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as part of the lead up to the Showtime-televised welterweight main event between Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) and Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs).
Maidana will meet Lopez as part of a Showtime-televised triple-header that includes junior middleweight bouts between Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs), of Houston, and Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs), of Philadelphia, and hard-hitting Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) against savvy southpaw Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs).
On Showtime Extreme, Japanese standout Yoshihiro Kamegai (22-0-1, 19 KOs) will meet Venezuela’s former titleholder Johan Perez (16-1-1, 12 KOs), and heavyweight prospect Gerald Washington (7-0, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, meets Sherman “Tank” Williams (35-12-2, 19 KO’s), of Vero Beach, Fla.
Also in action, time permitting, will be 2012 United States Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (4-0, 2 KOs) against an opponent to be determined, as well as some of California’s top pugilists in lightweight Luis Ramos (23-1, 10 KOs), featherweight Ronny Rios (20-9, 9 KOs), lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (13-0-1, 5 KOs), junior featherweight Manuel Avila (11-0, 4 KOs) and featherweight Edgar Valero (2-0, 2 KOs).
Rios, 23, will take on southpaw Leonilo “Veneno” Miranda (32-5, 30 KOs), of Sonora, Mex., Kavanagh, of Dublin, Ireland, meets Sergio “Sirenito” Perez (27-14, 18 KOs), of Tijuana, Mex., Avila will fight Jamal Parram (6-7-1, 4 KOs), of St. Louis, Mo., Valero (2-0, 2 KOs), David Reyes (2-3-1), of Los Angeles.
Showtime’s triple-header will be televised live starting at 10 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT in association with Goossen Tutor and Thompson Boxing Promotions, and can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP). The Showtime Extreme portion of the broadcast will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
FEMALE BOXER ZULINA MUNOZ FIGHTS ON FOX DEPORTES
Mexico City’s Zulina “La Loba” Mu├▒oz (37-1-2, 24 KOs), who is 25, will defend her WBC junior bantamweight belt against Soledad “La Negra” Macedo (11-8-1, 4 KOs), of Salto, Uruguay, who is 30, in clash of female fighters on Friday night at Domo De La Feria, Leon, Guanajuato, Mex., and middleweights Bruno “Tiburon” Sandoval (13-0, 12 KOs) of Mexico City, will meet Rafael “Locomotora” Sosa Pintos (42-7, 17 KOs), of Salto Uruguay.
To be televised on Televisa in Mexico and on FOX Deportes in the United States, Mu├▒oz vs. Macedo is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. CT and the first fight begins at 6:00 p.m. CT. The Televisa broadcast begins at 10:30 p.m. CT and the FOX Deportes broadcast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
Photo: Scott Heavey-Gettyimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]