Mikkel Kessler says his protégé Abdul Khattab (14-1, 4 KOs) is in great shape ahead of his clash with Bartlomiej Grafka (18-22-3, 9 KOs) on October 15 at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn.
The former five-time World Champion has been impressed with what he has seen from Khattab in training, and is backing the Copenhagen boxer to overcome stiff competition from his Polish opponent.
‘’Abdul is in great shape,’’ said the Danish boxing icon. ‘’We’ve been working together a lot in training, and I’ve been teaching him to stay calm and relaxed in his fighting style and not to use up too much energy. He’s still at the learning stage, but he’s very strong at the moment and has been doing really well in the gym.
‘’Grafka will be a tough opponent. He is strong and likes to come forward, so it will be an interesting fight, but I believe Abdul is up to the challenge.’’
Grafka returns to Denmark following a fight with Khattab’s countryman Landry Kore on September 3 at the Arena Midt in Kjellerup.
Here the Polish fighter proved a stern test for Kore. He was ahead on the judges’ scorecards going into the fifth-round when the Danish boxer was disqualified for persistently losing his mouth guard. The Danish Professional Boxing Federation later reversed the decision, ruling the fight a no contest.
Despite his opponent’s pedigree, Khattab believes he can get the job done.
“My conditioning is good and I’m looking forward to fighting again,” said the 23 year-old.
‘’Grafka is a strong, experienced and very durable fighter. He’s among the best opponents I’ve faced, and possibly the strongest physically, so I’m expecting a tough test, but it won’t be a problem for me.’’
Khattab was this week called out by his domestic rival Kore, Grafka’s last opponent, and while he says it is a fight he is willing to accept, he is happy to leave the decision to his promoter Nisse Sauerland.
“I don’t care about who’s calling me out,’’ says Khattab. ‘’Nisse Sauerland is my promoter and he takes care of that, but if the fight becomes a reality, of course, I’ll take it.’’
His coach and mentor is also open to the challenge: “If Landry wants to fight Abdul, then Abdul will be ready, Abdul is ready for almost anyone,’’ said Kessler.
Promoter Nisse Sauerland says it is a fight he is willing to make, but has warned Khattab not to overlook his October 15 opponent.
‘’Of course, it is a fight we would be happy to make,’’ said Sauerland. ‘’But first Abdul must concentrate on the task at hand. Grafka is not an opponent you can take for granted. He was unhappy with the decision when he last fought in Denmark, and he will be looking for revenge.’’
Khattab meets Grafka in a six-round middleweight contest on the undercard of Dennis Ceylan’s European Featherweight title fight against British Champion Ryan Walsh, which also features Rashid Kassem against Joe Murray, Dina Thorslund versus Oksana Romanova and professional debutant Mikkel Nielsen facing Andrei Dolhozhyieu.
Tickets for the Nordic Fight Night on October 15 at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn are available online via www.arenanord.dk or by calling (+45) 96201050.
All the action will be shown live on Viaplay Fighting. For more information, please visit http://viaplay.dk/fighting