They brought in a horde of Vikings in battledress costume as well as renowned American fight announcer Michael Buffer to set the scene for Froch-Kessler II.
Are Carl and Mikkel ready to rumble? The proof is in their own words.
Scroll down to watch the video Focused: Carl Froch (left) and Mikkel Kessler go head to head before they renew rivalries in the ring Danish favourite: Kessler is one of only two men to have beaten Froch Viking warrior: Kessler has brought a few friends over to London from Denmark Froch, the Nottingham Cobra, said he wished that this final confrontation at London’s sold-out O2 Arena was in fact fight night.
Kessler declared that he can t wait to prove himself as a truly great world champion by following up his hometown victory over Froch three years ago with an away triumph in England.
Froch, who is defending his IBF world super-middleweight belt, said: The thought of revenge over Mikkel has been on my mind for three years, I wouldn t say it’s given me sleepless nights but I m glad that I ve now got the opportunity to set the record straight.
For me to be involved in a fight of this magnitude, on Sky pay-per-view and with so much attention around the world, means the world to me.
Joker of the pack: Kessler grins at Froch (above) after arriving at the press conference (below) Confident: Froch is adamant he will avenge his defeat to Kessler The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up already.
I feel nervous and tense but also excited, confident and strong.
This is why I got involved in boxing and turned professional in the first place.
I m thrilled but not overwhelmed.
I would never have turned professional had my trainer Rob McCracken not talked me into it but now I ve come to the pinnacle of my career thus far.
I feel the same powerful emotions as when I blew away Lucian Bute to get this title.
Kessler, the WBA under champion, said: I keep being asked what’s in it for me.
People say why do this when I ve already beaten him once but this is the best fight out there in the world at the moment.
Buzz: Tickets for the rematch sold out within hours and London’s O2 Arena will be filled to capacity Loyal following: Rarely has an overseas fighter brought so many fans with him to the UK Drawn? Kessler possibly looks tight at the weight Carl is a great fighter but I do want to prove that I m better than him not only in my hometown but in his country.
Also, I shook his hand after our first fight and gave him my word that I would give him his chance at home and I m honouring that.
When I had a long time out with my eye injury, I must have seen 6,000 doctors who told me it was all over.
But then after nine months I started to see better and I was cured.
I should not be here but I am.
I know Carl will have a fantastic atmosphere behind him but I am going to beat him.
Suits you: Froch and Kessler eye up the belts they are putting on the line in Saturday’s unification clash Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said of the burgeoning public interest: The British public are finally realising what they have here.
Carl is one of the greatest fighters this country has ever produced and this promises to be one of the greatest fights in our boxing history.’ Froch cemented the immense mutual respect between these warriors when he said: We are both going to leave blood, sweat and everything in the ring on Saturday night.
Enjoy the ride.
Froch-Kessler will be live Saturday night on Sky Sports Box Office HD
Floyd Mayweather is in great shape for his fight with Robert Guerrero Floyd Mayweather insists he is in ‘tip-tip’ shape heading into Saturday’s fight with Robert Guerrero.
Mayweather remains undefeated in 43 fights and once again enters the ring on the back of a lengthy absence.
However, he has never suffered from ring-rust before and believes his work in the gym will pay dividends once again.
“I feel unbeatable.
I’m not going into a fight thinking I’m beatable,” he said.
“I’m in this sport to go down as the best, and to do what I feel capable of doing.
“If that’s the way (for Guerrero) to build his confidence, to get himself mentally prepared, then more power to him.
But I’m in tip-top shape.
I’ve been been in the gym working hard.
“You don’t get to the pinnacle by not facing and fighting the best competition.
I beat everybody in the 90s and I beat everybody in the 2000s, and here I still am 17 years later.
“My main focus is to win.
I focus on winning and I’m always going to control the tempo of any fight because of my experience.”
Wales interim head coach Rob Howley admits a number of his squad could have a “busy summer” after an impressive RBS Six Nations campaign.
From being 30-3 down to Ireland at half-time in their opening game of this season’s championship, Wales came storming back in emphatic style.
The side got better and better as the tournament progressed, culminating in the 30-3 thumping of England at the Millennium Stadium to clinch the title.
The Lions live on Sky Sports The pinnacle of British and Irish Rugby, the Lions tour, returns and heads to Australia.
Sky Sports will broadcast the entire tour live with all three Tests against the Wallabies plus all seven warm-up matches.
For the first time, the inaugural tour match will take place in Hong Kong.
The British & Irish Lions tour will be the fifth consecutive tour shown exclusively live on Sky.
And with the British and Irish Lions set to head to Australia for a 10-match tour in the summer, Howley believes a number of his players will be involved.
Pressure “As a player you know that coming into a championship in Lions year how important your performances are going to be,” said Howley.
“They are under the microscope throughout the championship and they performed as you expected them to.
They turned up.
“The pressure was on us a little bit more.
The talk was about England winning and the points.
We had to make sure we started well…
so some of them might have a busy summer.” Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Sam Warburton, Adam Jones are among a strong Wales contingent set to be involved in the Lions squad when it is announced by head coach Warran Gatland.
The Lions kick-off their tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, with three Tests against the Wallabies taking place on June 22 (Brisbane), June 29 (Melbourne) and July 6 (Sydney).
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Luis Suarez was amongst the goals once again as Liverpool beat Wigan Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his “master marksman” Luis Suarez after the striker produced another devastating display to defeat Wigan 3-0.
After a surprisingly flat first half by his own high standards, the Uruguay international scored twice and assisted with the third for Jose Enrique as the Reds registered only their fourth Barclays Premier League win of 2012.
“Luis is a very big part of the team.
His first goal was a wonderful finish with a great weight of pass from young Raheem (Sterling),” said the Reds boss.
“He finished it great and for the second one there was a lovely pass from Enrique and a nice little off-the-shoulder run and finish.
He is a master marksman, absolutely outstanding, and we are thrilled to have him.” Suarez, the club’s only fit senior striker, has scored more than half of Liverpool’s 17 league goals this season but Rodgers is not concerned the burden may become too much on the 25-year-old.
“Not at all.
Of course we want other support around that but you can see he thrives on it,” added the Northern Irishman.
“If you look at his goal return this season already he is enjoying playing in the system and enjoying the freedom of being that loose striker.
This group are improving all the time and Luis is the pinnacle up there getting the goals.” Wigan boss Roberto Martinez felt fatigue from the midweek international fixtures played a part in their second-half performance but losing Ben Watson to a broken leg did not help.
The 27-year was caught just above the shin by Reds winger Raheem Sterling’s knee as they jumped for a ball in the first half.
“He has a fracture and we are going to assess him now because maybe he will require surgery,” said the Spaniard.
“If he needs surgery he will probably be out for four months and that will be a major blow for us.
“The injury affected us too much because I thought we started quite sharp and controlled the game in the first half.
I thought we were the team who looked like being a real threat and I thought we stopped Liverpool completely.
“Unfortunately in the second half we suffered too much from the international fixtures.”
Great Britain’s women are unlikely to make a return to action during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Photograph: Catherine Ivill/AMA The Football Association has dealt a blow to Hope Powell’s wish for a British women’s team to compete at the Rio Olympics.
Alex Horne, the general secretary of the FA, said it was “unlikely” that the concept of a unified Team GB would be resurrected in 2016.
The men’s and women’s football teams qualified for 2012 by dint of host nation berths, but concerns over unifying the four home nations over the longer term meant GB’s involvement was only ever billed as a one-off arrangement.
That did not stop the women’s head coach Powell from expressing her hope that a British team could compete in 2016 following her side’s quarter-final loss to Canada.
Powell was encouraged by the support her team enjoyed during the London Games, which peaked with a 70,000-strong crowd for their final group game against Brazil at Wembley, but Horne admits the FA is set to quash the prospect of a rematch in Rio in four years’ time.
“Within the men’s game, it’s not going to happen again,” Horne told the Times.
“On the women’s side I’m going to say it’s unlikely, for the same reason.
“But you can understand why it’s more compelling.
Olympic football for women is the pinnacle.”
Louis Smith and the GB men’s gymnastic team compete in the final on Monday Louis Smith is confident the British men’s gymnastics team can keep their focus as they bid to win the first Olympic team medal in their history on Monday.
The five-man British team of Smith, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham finished third in team qualification behind the United States and Russia, booking themselves Britain’s first men’s team final place since 1924.
They qualified with a margin of clear two points over defending Olympic team and world champions China in a day that exceeded all expectations.
“One of the things we say in our team is not to worry about what other people do,” Smith said.
“We try to focus on what we want to do.
We know what we’re capable of.
“It’s been a tough four years.
Where we’ve come from four years ago in British gymnastics, the expectation is getting massive, so to come here, at the pinnacle of our Olympic Games, and get that result is amazing.
“We’re going to go out there and enjoy it.
I think we’ve exceeded expectations already.” The scoring system changes for the final, with three gymnasts from every team competing on each piece of apparatus with all three scores counting towards the overall total.
It means there is no margin for error, and Purvis, who also qualified for the individual all-around final, believes it is dangerous to write the reigning champions off.
“I’m sure China will turn it on in the team finals,” he said.
“China are the world champions.
Especially in three-up, three-to-count so I think they will hit their routines good on Monday.” Joining Britain, the United States, Russia and China in the final are 2008 silver medallists Japan, Ukraine, France and Germany.
European dream: Adam wants Champions League football Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam has revealed that the club are targeting a top four finish next season in order to secure Champions League football.
The Reds have failed to qualify for Europe’s premier competition in each of the last three seasons, but they will return to European action for the first time in over two years when they compete in next season’s Europa League.
And while Adam revealed to the Daily Star that the club will be taking the Europa League seriously, the aim of Champions League football remains.
‘Everyone wants to play in the Champions League.
It’s the pinnacle,’ he said.
‘For us, we re in the Europa League.
We want to try and get into the group stages and try and win every game.
‘That’s the expectation of this club.
It’s the expectation of the supporters and the players inside the dressing room.’ Liverpool ended last season in eighth place in the Premier League – their lowest finish for 18 years.
But Adam claims that the club ‘didn’t deserve’ to finish eighth, and he expects improvements under new manager Brendan Rodgers.
‘They say the table doesn t lie but we didn t deserve to finish eighth.
If we had had a bit of luck on our side we probably would have finished higher.
‘But it’s done and gone now.
We move forward and hopefully we will finish better than we did last season.
Out of luck: Adam feels Liverpool ‘didn’t deserve’ to finish eighth ‘I can t believe the amount of times we drew at home.
It was incredible but you have got to change your own luck.
‘If we work hard and do the right things next season we will be further up the table.
‘This is one of the best clubs in the world and the opportunity to play here is a dream for any player.
‘We have the right people on board and the right players.
Hopefully we can keep progressing as a club.
Bridging that gap doesn t happen overnight.
‘But if you have the right balance, the right group of players and you work hard, you never know what can happen.’
Stacy Lewis continues her pursuit of the world No.
1 ranking this week at the NW Arkansas Championship, teeing it up against a strong field that includes two-time defending champ Yani Tseng.
“I’m ready to take her on,” Lewis said.
“I want to be No.
1 in the world.
I know I’m two, but I’m not happy with that.” The 27-year-old American — a two-time winner this year — is familiar with the Pinnacle Country Club course, having competed for the University of Arkansas.
She has finished in the top five in each of her last five events.
Last year, Taiwan’s Tseng won her second consecutive Arkansas Championship with a four-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole against Amy Yang.
Two years ago, she closed with a final-round 65, including four birdies during a five-hole stretch on the back nine to win the tournament.
Tseng, who has been No.
1 for the past 70 weeks, has won three of her seven events this season.
After finishing 59th at the LPGA Championship earlier this month, Tseng said the pressure of being No.
1 was starting to get to her.
“I put too much pressure on myself,” Tseng said.
“It’s really hard to win every week, so now I want to smile more on the golf course, enjoy more on (the) golf course.
I know if I’m enjoying the course then people are going to enjoy watching me.” Tseng leads the LPGA in tournament earnings this season, with more than $1 million while Lewis is second with more than $900,000.
The 54-hole event begins Friday.