Froch outpoints Kessler to claim WBA crown

IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch scored a unanimous decision over veteran Mikkel Kessler to add the WBA belt to his possession following a stirring 12-round bout Saturday at the O2 Arena.

Froch (31-2) came out ahead by margins of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 on the three cards to avenge a previous defeat to the five-time world champion Kessler, who took a unanimous decision over the 35-year-old Brit in Kessler's native Denmark back in April of 2010.

Froch controlled the fight's early stages, but Kessler (46-3) began to come on during the middle rounds and later landed an effective combination in the 11th that cut his opponent over the left eye. Froch bounced back strongly after the bell, however, and sealed the win with a dominant final round that had Kessler wobbling but not down.

The loss was the first for the 34-year-old Kessler since he dropped the WBA crown to Andre Ward via a technical decision in 2009. He regained the belt with a knockout of Brian Magee in August.