( AFP ) - Britain's Joe Calzaghe confirmed his status as boxing's best super-middleweight by unanimously outpointing Denmark's Mikkel Kessler in a triple world title fight at the Millennium Stadium here Sunday.
The Welshman defended his WBO title for a 21st time while relieving Kessler of his WBA and WBC belts after a brutal bout between two unbeaten boxers.
Calzaghe triumphed by the judges' scorecards of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.
The thrilling fight was just the sort of performance Calzaghe had dreamed of to satisfy an estimated crowd of 50,000 fans in the Welsh capital, the largest ever attendance at a British boxing event.
But Calzaghe's 10-year reign as world champion -- currently the longest in boxing -- and unbeaten record has to survive some worrying moments, especially in the last round against the heavy-handed Kessler.
It was Kessler's first defeat in 40 fights.
Kessler made a sharp start behind his piston-like jab and showed no sign of being intimidated by the crowd.
The 28-year-old had more success in the second round when he sent Calzaghe back onto the ropes with a right cross.
Southpaw Calzaghe, 35, came back firing in the third round and looked to have flawed Kessler after a flurry of blows, but referee Mike Ortega ruled it was not a knockdown but a slip.
Kessler returned with a stinging left hook to the temple and a jolting right upper cut that snapped the home hero's head back in the fourth round.
Calzaghe began to dominate in the latter half of the fight as his superior stamina began to tell. Calzaghe found more holes in Kessler's defence in the seventh but the Dane rocked the Welshman back onto his heels with a straight right.
Kessler went on the offensive in an exciting eighth round but it was the British boxer who landed the most dangerous blow of the round, a short left upper cut.
Calzaghe's superior hand speed saw him pile on the points in the later rounds, although Kessler was always
dangerous with his powerful right, especially in the last round when he launched one last, furious assault.
But after the last bell, Kessler knew the points decision would not go his way.
Earlier, Calzaghe's fellow Welshman and gym-mate Enzo Maccarinelli completed a routine fourth defence of his WBO cruiserweight title with a fourth-round stoppage of Algerian Mohamed Azzaoui at the Millennium Stadium.
Ticket sales beat the previous British record crowd of 42,000 that turned up in 1993 at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, to see Nigel Benn versus Chris Eubank, whom Calzaghe beat to claim the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) title a decade ago.