On this day in 2007: Joe Calzaghe unifies super-middleweight titles

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Joe Calzaghe set his sights on American great Bernard Hopkins after being crowned undisputed world super-middleweight champion with a superb points win over previously-unbeaten Dane Mikkel Kessler on this day in 2007.

Calzaghe emerged through five torrid opening rounds before skating away to record his 21st WBO title defence and add Kessler’s WBA and WBC belts to his collection.

Calzaghe’s long-term promoter Frank Warren declared: “Joe will go to the States. He will fight Mr Hopkins in his home town. He will go to Philadelphia to fight him. He will fight him anywhere to get this on.”

Boxing – WBO/WBA/WBC Super-Middleweight Title – Joe Calzaghe v Mikkel Kessler – Millennium Stadium
Joe Calzaghe targeted a bout with Bernard Hopkins (Nick Potts/PA)

Just as he had against another undefeated fighter, Jeff Lacy, Calzaghe saved his best performance for the night he was most up against it, recording deserved 117-111, 116-112 (twice) verdicts on the judges’ cards.

Kessler had come to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a 39-fight unbeaten record, intending to prove to the 50,000 Calzaghe fans in attendance this was the night for the passing of the torch to the younger generation.

Instead, it was Calzaghe who turned on the style in the later rounds, moving to his left and working behind a stiff jab to negate the Dane’s relatively one-dimensional approach and win in style.

“I’m really proud of my achievements,” said Calzaghe. “I’m 36 in March and I’ve always said that I’ve never avoided anybody.

“Given the opportunity to fight the best, I will show them what I’m about. You saw what I could do with Lacy and you’ve just seen what I could do with Mikkel Kessler.”

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