- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Super middleweight titleholders Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler, who in 2010 fought a hellacious battle won by Kessler during the Super Six World Boxing Classic, will meet again in a rematch.
Froch promoter Matchroom Sport and Sauerland Event, which promotes Kessler, announced Tuesday that they have struck a deal for them to meet again in their next fight.
They said the venue has not been determined, but that the fight will take place in Froch's home country of England. The spring date also will be announced at a news conference "soon."
"My hat goes off to both men for putting everything on the line here in what can only be an epic battle," Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn said. "Too many super fights fall by the wayside so to make Froch-Kessler II is a dream come true.
"Froch-Kessler I was a barn burner but I really feel Carl is a different fighter now, especially in the U.K. These are the kinds of fights and nights that can cement the legacy of Carl Froch and no one deserves it more. We know what to expect from both men and either way it's going to be brutal."
"Kessler-Froch I was an instant classic, the best fight ever on Danish soil. Kessler-Froch II will be even better," said promoter Kalle Sauerland. "Mikkel and Carl are two all-time greats, two future Hall of Famers and they will leave it all in the ring once again."
While Froch and Kessler both had other options, this is the fight that they both wanted.
"First and foremost, I'm really pleased the fight has finally been arranged," Froch said. "I feared that Kessler had second thoughts about his promise, but the man has come good on his word."
Said Kessler, "I promised Carl we would meet again and here we are, getting ready to leave it all in the ring for a second time. I have the utmost of respect for Carl. I feel we are very much alike. He is a great champion, a true warrior that has fought the best opponents all over the world in some of the most hostile places, just like me. Our first fight, especially the last round, showed what we are all about and I was anxious to do it again."
The fight probably will be to unify their two belts, although the Froch camp is still waiting for approval from the IBF, which has ordered him to face mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson. However, the IBF typically allows unification fights to take precedence over mandatory defenses. If Froch's request for an exception is rejected, Froch would give up his belt and fight only for Kessler's.
Meeting in Herning, Denmark -- Kessler's home country -- on April 24, 2010 in the second stage of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, Kessler and Froch waged the most action-packed fight of the tournament, including the 12th round, which was a round-of-the-year candidate. Kessler won a competitive unanimous decision to claim Froch's belt.
"Our first fight was pure warfare," Froch said. "We went at each other for every minute of every round and the rematch promises to be even more fiercely contested. I seriously wish I was ringside myself for this fight, because I'm gunning for revenge at all costs and the fight fans are in for a real treat.
"He is a class act both inside and outside the ropes. We are cut from the same cloth and we will be friends yet again after the fight. But the moment I heard the fight was done on the telephone, I was completely switched on and he was the focus of my mind. I can't wait to get back into camp for this one. I've never felt so motivated. If Mikkel thinks he saw the best of me in Denmark then he is in for a rude awakening. I give him the utmost respect that he has the guts to board that plane and come collect a serious whooping at the hands of the 'Cobra.' Let's bring it on."
Andre Ward beat Kessler and Froch in world title bouts in the Super Six and stands atop the division, but Froch and Kessler both rebounded to regain versions of the title and rank right behind Ward in the division. Kessler lost his belt to Ward in the opening round of the tournament on a one-sided, 11th-round technical decision before beating Froch in his next fight to win a belt he later vacated. Froch advanced to the tournament final but lost a decision to Ward in December 2011.
Froch (30-2, 22 KOs), 35, bounced back in his next fight by scoring a punishing fifth-round knockout of previously undefeated Lucian Bute to win a title in May and followed with a third-round knockout of Yusaf Mack in November.
Froch and Bute had an agreement in place for a rematch, but with Bute being beaten so soundly by Froch and then looking so shaky in his comeback fight in November -- plus the prospect of this big money rematch for Froch against Kessler -- the Froch and Bute camps agreed to continue to delay their rematch.
After beating Froch, Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs), 33, eventually dropped out of the Super Six because of an eye injury. Since the fight with Froch, Kessler has had two lengthy layoffs -- 14 months and 11 months -- but he has won four fights in a row since losing to Ward, including against Froch and a third-round destruction of Brian Magee on Dec. 8 to win a belt.
"Since that first fight, I have become even stronger. I am fresh, I am healthy and I am ready to defeat him once again," Kessler said. "I don't care where we fight. I said anytime, anywhere. I plan to make my loyal Viking fans, as well as everybody else in Denmark, very proud once again. I am ready for war."
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