Former 168-pound champ Mikkel Kessler was forced to pull out of April's super middleweight title fight with Robert Stieglitz. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
Mikkel Kessler is out of next month's super middleweight title fight against Robert Stieglitz. Kessler said on Monday that his recovery from hand surgery last November has slowed his training and will keep him out of the ring until May 19.
Kessler's promoter, Sauerland Event, said a new opponent will be announced next week.
"I hate to keep my fans waiting and I am really sorry about the delay," Kessler said. "As a boxer, my fists are my biggest weapon. To fight and to win at the highest level, I need my hand to be fully recovered. Unfortunately, the April 14 date comes just a little too early but I will be ready on May 19th. I have kept my shape and can't wait to be fighting again in front of my Danish fans."
Kessler appeared to be building some momentum in 2010, when he outpointed Carl Froch in the group stage of Showtime's Super Six tournament. But a subsequent eye injury knocked him out of the tournament and his only fight since was a knockout win over Mehdi Bouadla.
"Although I believe that Mikkel would defeat 90 percent of the super middleweights out there with just one hand, we will not let him into the ring when he is not fully recovered," promoter Kalle Sauerland said. "His health has always been our top priority. The five-week delay is disappointing but it´s not the end of the world. On May 19th, Mikkel will come back in style and put on a great show."
-- Chris Mannix