SHOWTIME® will televise yet another important super middleweight world championship bout when former world titlist Mikkel Kessler of Denmark returns to the ring to challenge World Boxing Organization (WBO) kingpin Robert Stieglitz of Germany on Saturday, Nov. 5, from renowned PARKEN Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. The WBO championship fight will be shown on same-day delay and precede the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super middleweight title fight between unbeaten defending champion Lucian Bute and Glen Johnson live on SHOWTIME from Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The Nov. 5 doubleheader will take place just seven days after world champions Andre Ward (World Boxing Association) and Carl Froch (World Boxing Council) collide in The Final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Saturday, Oct. 29 live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The addition of Stieglitz vs. Kessler to the Nov. 5 telecast completes a lineup that puts all four super middleweight world titles up for grabs, along with The RING magazine belt and the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup, in back-to-back Saturdays on SHOWTIME.
Stieglitz (40-2, 23 KOs) is at the peak of his game. The 5-foot-11, Russian-born boxer-puncher has won nine consecutive fights and 11 of his last 12. He’ll be making the fifth defense of the WBO belt he won in Hungary on an upset, come-from-behind 11th-round TKO over Karoly Balzsay in August 2009.
“I have a lot of respect for Kessler but he will not take my crown away from me,” said Stieglitz. “It may be that he is a national hero in Denmark, such as Karoly Balzsay was in Hungary, but I travelled there, defeated him and became world champion. The home advantage did not help Balzsay at all and it will not help Mikkel Kessler either. I will defend my title."
In his most recent outing and lone start this year on April 9, the 30-year-old Stieglitz retained his crown when challenger Khoren Gevor was disqualified at 2:45 of the 10th-round for an intentional headbutt in Germany. In April of 2010, Stieglitz’ unanimous decision over Eduard Gutknecht was dubbed Fight of the Year in Germany.
A true sportsman in and out of the ring who idolizes the Klitschko brothers, Stieglitz is a confident and technically sound boxer with good conditioning and strength. He’s improved most areas of his game in recent years and competes with the poise of a world champion.
As Stieglitz hasn’t fought the caliber of opponents as his challenger, he views the fight against Kessler as a chance to boost his profile in the talent-laden 168-pound division.
Kessler (44-2, 33 KOs) is a former WBA titleholder and WBC titleholder. The 32-year-old is coming off a thoroughly dominant sixth-round TKO over outclassed Mehdi Bouadla last June 4 for the vacant WBO European crown on SHOWTIME. Making his first start in 14 months, Kessler scored four knockdowns – one in the third and fourth and two in the sixth – before the one-sided proceedings were halted at 2:25.
The victory was especially satisfying to the popular, 6-foot-1 Kessler because he escaped virtually unmarked in his first bout since a potentially career-ending eye injury had forced him to withdraw from the Super Six and vacate his WBC title. Prior to leaving the tournament, Kessler was riding high after capturing the WBC crown with an exciting 12-round, unanimous decision slugfest over the then-undefeated Froch on April 24, 2010.
“I look forward to be fighting on SHOWTIME again,” said Kessler. “I want to show the fans in the U.S. that I am the world´s best super-middleweight. After my successful comeback in June, the next step is to become world champion for a fourth time. The fight against Robert Stieglitz will be exciting. He is technically very strong and he deserves to be holding that belt, but I think that I am better and that I will take the title away from him. It will be a great night of boxing with my passionate Danish fans raising the roof at world-famous PARKEN Stadium.”
Kessler, who’s ranked No. 1 in the WBO, attained the WBA belt in June 2008 and made two successful defenses before losing to Ward on an 11th-round technical decision in Group Stage 1 of the Super Six on Nov. 21, 2009, on SHOWTIME. The Dane’s only other defeat came on a 12-round decision to future Hall-of-Famer Joe Calzaghe on Nov. 3, 2007.
The world title fight in Denmark is promoted by Sauerland Event and SES Boxing; the world title fight in Canada by Interbox, DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports programming, exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please visit http://www.sho.com/sports.
WBC Super-Middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch will perform the first ever live fight-night draw at tomorrow’s sold-out Prizefighter Light-Middleweights II at Bethnal Green’s York Hall, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.
The Nottingham star will lead the eight contenders to the ring with none of the fighters knowing who they will face in the quarter-finals. In another first for Prizefighter, Ryan ‘Crash Bang’ Taylor takes on Dan Carr in the first “Prizefighter Prospect” before the action gets underway.
Fight fans should get to the venue early to see Londoner Taylor make his pro debut. The 23 year-old fights out of Tony Sims’ gym alongside ‘Dazzling’ Darren Barker and Lee ‘Lights Out’ Purdy, and is aiming to turn his amateur talents into professional victories, having won numerous titles and fought in New York’s prestigious Golden Gloves – the doors at York Hall open at 6.30pm.
Tomorrow’s Prizefighter line-up is led by former two-weight World champion Takaloo who returns to primetime boxing after three years out of the ring.
Adding some razzmatazz to proceedings is Peterborough’s JJ Bird, the 24 year-old who finished fourth in the last series of Big Brother, who will bank on support from flatmate Aston Merrygold from pop group JLS as he returns to the ring after two years out of action.
‘The Raging Bull’ Peter Vaughan will be full of confidence after outpointing previously unbeaten Phill Fury in a real war on the Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora undercard at Wembley Arena in July, taking his record to three wins and one draw.
Hampshire fighter Wayne Goddard takes a 9-0 record into the tournament while Brentwood’s Kris Agyei-Dua has three points wins to his name since making his pro debut at 30 years-old in February.
Steve Harkin’s place in the line-up came down to his loyal followers, as fans of the 29 year-old from Liverpool began a campaign on Twitter that sees the 5-1-2 fighter become the seventh name in the mix. Harkin’s Merseyside compatriot Nick Quigley and Blackpool’s Jeff Thomas complete the line-up.
Prizefighter Light Middleweights II weigh-in results
Kris Agyei-Dua (11st 1lb 4oz)
JJ Bird (11st 1lb 13oz)
Wayne Goddard (11st 1lb 3oz)
Steve Harkin (10st 13lb 3oz)
Nick Quigley (11st 1lb 7oz)
Takaloo (11st 1lb 5oz)
Jeff Thomas (11st 1lb 8oz)
Peter Vaughan (11st 14oz)
Robert Lloyd-Taylor (11st 2lb)
Nathan Weise (10st 13lb 3oz)