Reigning WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler has pulled out of his scheduled May 11 title defence against former champion Anthony Mundine citing a back injury that is expected to take four to eight weeks to heal.
The fight was scheduled to take place at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia.
According to a press release issued by Kessler’s promoter Team Palle, Kessler woke up on Saturday morning suffering from strong back pain and sought acupuncture treatment in Copenhagen. A scan was taken on Monday revealing the full extent of the injury, which has been described as two shifting discs of the spine which led to swelling and severe pain.
Fortunately the scan showed that the injury wasn’t as severe as first thought.
Bettina Palle, head of Team Palle, expressed disappointment at the postponement of Kessler’s first title defence.
"Nobody is more sorry than I, but it’s our world champion we are talking about, and he won’t enter the ring unless it’s with a back that is 100% free of any injuries,” she said.
Kessler, 35-0 (27), also showed his dismay and said that he was well aware that people may try to write off his injury as fake.
"I’m really sorry to hear that some people suspect foul play and that this is a trick to try and get out this title fight,” he said, adding “I’m looking forward to a great fight, where I’m going to be paid very well and to meet an opponent that in my eyes is perfect for my boxing style.
"I want to say once and for all: the fight against Mundine is on with a very short delay."
Kessler will restart his training camp within the next couple of days with a program designed to strengthen his back and ensure that these problems don’t occur again.
Palle dismissed the idea of taking a warm-up fight in the interim.
"There is no way Mikkel will get in the ring for any ‘tune up’ before his fight against Anthony Mundine. The WBA wouldn’t allow that under any circumstances anyway,” she said.
Palle did however offer Mundine the chance to have a warm-up fight with another one of her boxers, once beaten Dane Rudy Markussen, although she almost dismissed that notion out of hand.
”I’m convinced that Mundine will choose to wait for his title shot against Mikkel, so it’s now up to the Australians to pick a new date and I’m hoping that this will be done within the next few days,” she said.
This is not the first time Team Palle have pulled a boxer out on the eve of a big fight. Kessler himself got his shot at glory when Team Palle stablemate Mads Larson was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title challenge against newly crowned WBA champion Manny Siaca.
More recently former IBF super middleweight champion Charles Brewer was stopped in the 10th round by Danish-based Congolese Lolenga Mock after Team Palle’s Martin Nielsen withdrew from the fight citing sickness.
The postponement of the May 11 bout will also severely impact Mundine’s planned return to rugby league, which was expected to happen after the Kessler fight.
"We just have to decipher what's going on before we can make a rational comment,” said Mundine’s manager Khoder Nasser of the 29-year-old Australian’s next move.
"It's a setback in the sense that Anthony is more or less at the conclusion of his preparation for a world title fight and that he must go through this again.
"I've got to sit down and talk to Anthony."
Mundine, 23-2 (18), won the vacant WBA title by defeating Antwun Echols by unanimous decision in 2003. He subsequently lost the title to Siaca in his second title defence. Mundine’s only other loss came by 10th round KO to longtime IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke in just his eleventh fight.
MORE Boxing Headlines From Today:
New picture: Tragic Manny Pacquiao emerging Dp
Tyson aims for throne Dp
Tyson Stuns Fenech Dp
Mosley Wins First Comeback Fight Dp
Mosley looks like his old self Dp
Must Read!- Woman Rebuilds Life After Serious Injury Dp
Interview With Joe Calzaghe Dp
"The Contender" Live Finale: Tickets on Sale Today DHB
Margarito after heavy hitters now Dp
Jirov says board is right to keep Mesi out of ring Dp
James Toney taking on a heavy task Dp
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005