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Mikkel Kessler retires

Fighters Network

Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images


Four-time super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler has informed Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstrabladet, and confirmed to, that he has officially retired from professional boxing.

The 35-year-old has apparently been unable to secure the bouts he was looking for and vowed that there will be no coming back.

“I have thought long and hard over the options, which have been made available, but none of these options are enough to get me motivated,” said Kessler, when interviewed by boxingscene. “This is not a question of money, in fact these offers have been for great purses, but it is about motivation.

“After all, if you aren’t going all the way then why go at all?”

Kessler had hoped to lure RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward into a rematch or fight a third, and deciding, bout against No. 1-rated Carl Froch, however neither man has the Danish veteran in their sights.

“These are fights that motivate me but, for one reason or another, they (Ward and Froch) do not want to fight me. I am always in training, it is part of my life, but I now consider myself in a state of retirement,” said Kessler.

If this is indeed the end for “The Viking Warrior” then he has, without question, established himself as one of the finest 168-pound fighters of a generation.

He captured the WBA super middleweight title in November 2004, when he forced Manny Siaca to retire at the end of round seven, and two years later added the WBC belt by knocking out Marcus Beyer in three.

Kessler lost his unbeaten record to WBO beltholder Joe Calzaghe in a massive unification clash, in November 2007, but rebounded in style by regaining the WBA title at the expense of Dimitri Sartison, whom he knocked out in the twelfth and final round.

“The Super Six” tournament was next for Kessler and there were no easy options.

American star Andre Ward would dominate him en route to an 11th-round technical decision (due to an accidental head clash) but, with habitual defiance, the Danish power-puncher came back brilliantly to win the WBC title from Carl Froch, perhaps his finest hour, in April 2010.

Still, despite his fires being rekindled, Kessler was about to encounter serious problems. An eye injury, sustained in the Ward bout, worsened and forced the heavily tattooed gladiator to relinquish the title he won from Froch and exit “The Super Six.”

He returned a year later, following corrective surgery, and won four straight bouts before facing off with Froch in a rematch. Both fought their hearts out but the Englishman was always a step ahead and prevailed via unanimous decision in May 2013.

Kessler, a terrific competitor, and a proud champion, has a final career tally of 46-3, 35 knockouts.


Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing