HERNING, Denmark -- Mikkel Kessler of Denmark won the WBC super middleweight title with a unanimous decision against Britain's Carl Froch on Saturday.
The judges scored the 12-round bout 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 in Kessler's favor, despite the Dane (43-2) being bothered by a cut over his left eye in the final rounds.
The bout was part of the Super Six tournament, designed to give six of the best 168-pound boxers in the world three fights each, with points awarded based upon the outcome. The four fighters with the most points advance to seeded semifinals, with a championship bout next year.
Froch (26-1) beat Jermain Taylor of the United States with a 12th-round knockout last year in his first title defense, and then overcame Andre Dirrell with a split decision in October in his first Super Six bout.
The victory was Kessler's first in the tournament after Andre Ward stunned him with a dominant victory in a unanimous technical decision last year.
Kessler and Froch now both have two points from two fights in the tournament.
Both men had been oozing with confidence in the past days but the Dane was backed by a deafening partisan crowd, which vastly outnumbered the roughly 200 British supporters.
Kessler used his jab to take control of the early rounds before Froch found his stride and started fighting more aggressively toward the end of the third. Kessler went down in the fifth, but the judges ruled it a slip.
Kessler then regained his composure and gradually wore the Briton down, bloodying Froch's nose and easily avoiding most of his punches. However, Kessler then started bleeding from the cut over his left eyebrow, and Froch tried in vain to increase the damage over the last rounds.
Saturday's bout drew some 10,000 people at Herning's congress and sports center.