Helsinki, Finland is the unlikely site of one of this year’s best boxing matchups. The neutral city will host the Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight battle between England’s Carl Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) and Armenian-born Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs), who now fights out of Germany. The fight will be for the vacant WBC super middleweight championship.
Even though the 33-year-old Froch and 30-year-old Abraham have each suffered a defeat in the ill-fated tournament, this is one of its most anticipated fights because it’s between two boxers who love to attack.
Abraham, the former IBF middleweight champion, was disqualified in his last series bout in March against Andre Dirrell for hitting him when he was down and Froch lost a decision to Mikel Kessler of Denmark. It was Abrahams’ first loss in his pro career and Froch lost the WBC Super Middleweight Championship to Kessler. Ironically, both Dirrell and Kessler have withdrawn from the tournament.
If this fight is as good in the ring as it is on paper, look for it to be a slugfest with both boxers getting rocked throughout the 12 rounds. While they both have good power and like to brawl, they’re also quite tough and this one could end up going the distance. Froch has surprised a lot of non-British fans over the past couple of years with his skills and if he can manage to take this to the distance he should regain his title.
In another intriguing super middleweight tilt in Oakland, California, undefeated American Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KOs), a former Olympic gold medallist in 2004, will be defending his WBA belt against Sakio Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs) of Cameroon. Ward was originally scheduled to take on his former Olympic teammate and buddy Dirrell in a Super Six bout, but Dirrell suffered neurological problems after the Abraham fight and pulled out of the tournament.
Ward won his title with an 11th round TKO over Kessler in the tournament and defended it with a unanimous decision over Allan Green, but this bout against Bika isn’t a part of the Super Six, even though Ward’s still in the event.
The 26-year-old Ward has all of the right tools to beat the 31-year-old Bika, but he has to put them to good use to get the job done. Bika has shown during his career that he can be pretty exciting and can take and give some pretty solid shots. Bika’s quite aggressive and doesn’t usually sit back and wait for his opponent’s to hit him, but he doesn’t really possess the polished skills of an elite boxer. If he did beat Ward it would be considered a pretty big upset by most boxing fans and experts.
Bika was disqualified his last time out, which was against Jean Paul Mendy, for nailing his opponent when he was already down. He’s also lost to world champions Lucian Bute and Joe Calzaghe, but did manage to win "The Contender," a boxing reality TV show, when he scored an eighth-round TKO against Jaidon Codrington. So Bika’s got quite a bit of experience and should be used to being in the spotlight in world title fights.