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.