By Tadhg Peavoy
Mikkel Kessler of Denmark has defeated Belfast’s Brian Magee in their WBA world super middleweight title fight in Herning.
Thirty-seven-year-old defending champion Magee came into the fight knowing Kessler offered a huge challenge to his belt, and so it proved to be.
Thirty-three-year-old Kessler dominated Lisburn-man Magee from the outset and rattled the Irishman with a series of body shots.
The damage of these proved too much as the referee stopped the fight early on in the third round as Magee was rendered powerless for a third time by Kessler’s body punches, with the victory marked down as technical knockout.
Kessler’s reward for victory over Magee is likely to be a fight with IBF world super middleweight title holder Carl Froch.
"Mikkel is a good champion and all through the fight he’s been like a champion" - Brian Magee
Kessler's body punches do the damage
Danish superstar Kessler showed his intent early on with a superb body punch flooring Magee in the second.
But the defending champion made his way back to his feet following a period on his knees, before seeing out the round, despite being given a standing count again just before the bell following another superb body shot from the Viking Warrior which rocked Magee.
Magee was reeling as he sat in his corner, and despite some attention from his team, he could not regain enough energy or composure to keep the fight alive.
Just after the bell sounded for the start of the third round, Kessler again laid into Magee with a further right to the body once more putting Magee in trouble. That was that as the referee called the fight to a close and crowned Kessler the WBA world super middleweight champion for a third time.
Magee full of praise for Kessler
Magee was humble in defeat and was also full of praise for new world champion Kessler.
Magee said: "I came to fight. The first shot he got me in the body hurt me bad and I couldn’t recover.
"It was a good fight. Mikkel is a good champion and all through the fight he’s been like a champion.
"He’s given me respect and the people of Denmark have given me respect.
"I trained like a champion for three months before I came here, but a body shot is hard to recover from."
A fifth career loss for Magee looks likely to be the last chapter in a proud career within the ropes. While Kessler will have one eye on Froch and a potentially lucrative showdown to unify the IBF and WBA titles in the UK in 2013.