Froch targets Ward after Kessler win

Englishman won unanimous decision against Dane in London last night


Carl Froch immediately set his sights on avenging the other blot on his record after overcoming his first conqueror Mikkel Kessler in a scintillating super-middleweight unification fight last night.

IBF champion Froch’s only career losses have come at the hands of the Dane three years ago and outstanding American Andre Ward 20 months later. The Cobra atoned for his defeat at the hands of Kessler, earning a unanimous verdict in a brutal 12-round thriller at the 02 Arena, and is now targeting a fight with Ward on home soil.

“I said before this fight that the winner should really be concentrating on moving on and my only other loss was against pound-for-pound number two in the world Andre Ward,” Froch, who added the WBA belt tonight, told Sky Box Office. “What a fantastic fighter he is and a great, great champion, but he is there to be beaten. But not over in America - let’s get him over here. I went over to America and now let’s get him over to England. ”

The defeats earlier in his career will seem a distant memory for Froch, who has fought on another level in his last three contests.

The victory, by margins of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 on the judges’ scorecards, was arguably as impressive as his five-round demolition of Lucian Bute just over a year ago.

Indeed, the Nottingham fighter dominated for large parts, albeit while also taking plenty of punishment from the seemingly indestructible Kessler.

“It feels really good,’’ he added. “The only thing that feels bad is that I have had to beat such a real gentleman, a real warrior and real nice man. He did hurt me a couple of times; I think everybody saw that. But I hurt him a little bit more and I thought I deserved the win. I thought it was unanimously my fight. I was close to getting the stoppage towards the end but, when I went in for the finish, what did he do? He fought back with a couple of big, hard shots. Big respect to him.’’

Kessler showed grace in defeat, admitting that the raucous London crowd played their part.

“It was tough with the good crowd he has at home,” he admitted. “It’s not nice to come into such an arena when it’s not your fans. It was a very tough fight, and I was tired in the end, but it is nice to fight a warrior who wants to fight.”

Froch, whose record now stands at 31-2, 23 KOs, also opened the door for a potential third encounter with Kessler, although it seems Ward remains his main target.

The American, regarded by some as the best pound-for-pound operator in the world, seems receptive to the idea of a rematch.

“America is where you have got to go to become a star,” he said. “You can be a great domestic fighter but, to become a worldwide fighter, you’ve got to stake your claim there. His record is 4-2 on the road and he is undefeated here, so I know why he wants to fight me here. If Eddie Hearn and Carl Froch really want the fight, they can call my manger and let’s talk about it.

“The UK is not out of the question so pick your phone up and let’s talk about it if you’re serious.”

Speaking about the potential destination of such a fight if it were in Britain, Ward was emphatic.

“We would have to take it to Wembley,” he added.