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Carl Froch unifies belts in win over Mikkel Kessler


Coming up

•  Saturday (8 p.m., at BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise): announced eight-bout card, headlined by Braulio Santos vs. Derrick Wilson, 10, welterweights; tickets range between $21 and $96; 800-745-3000.

Special to The Miami Herald

Carl Froch further solidified his standing in the super middleweight division, but reaching the top spot could prove daunting.

The native of Great Britain won a solid unanimous decision against nemesis Mikkel Kessler in their title unification bout Saturday night in London. The fight’s busy pace throughout the 12-round distance became another example of the exciting bouts already fought in 2013.

“When he was going to come forward, I was going to meet him with punches,” Froch said. “I got hit with too many shots in there, and Mikkel Kessler got hit with too many.

“I stood there. I rocked and rolled and I moved. I got hit with a couple, but that’s what the crowd loves to see.”

Although Kessler also pressed the action, especially in the latter stages of the bout, Froch’s volume of punches helped him build an early lead on the scorecards. All three judges scored the bout for Froch 115-113, 118-110 and 117-111.

Froch retained his International Boxing Federation title and also won the World Boxing Association belt previously held by Kessler.

With the victory, Froch also avenged a decision loss against Kessler three years ago in Kessler’s native Denmark and when both competed in the Showtime Super Six tournament. Froch reached the super middleweight tournament final and lost to Andre Ward.

“The main difference — in the first fight I was backing off and letting him dictate the pace,” Froch said. “I was being aggressive with the jab, and I was looking to let him know.”

After his loss to Ward in 2011, Froch (31-2) not only has evened the score with Kessler (46-3) but also ended Lucian Bute’s unbeaten record with a fifth-round TKO win last year.

And, while he added another super-middleweight belt, Froch won’t become the best in the weight class until he defeats Ward. Currently recovering from shoulder surgery, Ward trails only Floyd Mayweather Jr., on most pound-for-pound best fighter lists.

Ward had a close-up view of Saturday’s bout, working as an analyst for HBO.

When he returns to the ring, Ward has not targeted Froch or any other opponent. Although Froch would welcome a rematch with Ward — an attempt to avenge his other professional loss — Froch seemed more interested in a tie-breaking third fight against Kessler, based on his postfight comments.

“I like him; he’s very good at what he does, but he’s not an entertaining fighter,” Froch said of Ward. “He’s not going to brawl. He’s not going the get the crowd out of their seats.”

Fighting in Sunrise

South Florida’s fight show activity, sporadic so far this year, picks up again Saturday night.

Golden Boy Promotions will present the second of its four cards at BB&T Center in Sunrise.

The scheduled eight-fight card won’t feature local fighters on the top end of the bout sheet. The only notable South Florida fighter on the undercard is Boca Raton resident Steve Geffrard.

Champion of three national amateur tournaments in 2010, Geffrard will seek his first professional victory against a still-unannounced opponent.

Geffrard suffered a third-round technical knockout loss against Kentrell Claiborne in his professional debut Feb. 23.

The main event will feature Puerto Rico’s Braulio Santos and Derrick Wilson, of Fort Myers, in a scheduled 10-round featherweight bout.

 6. Golden Boy Promotion also plans to present cards at BB&T Center in October and January, 2014.

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