Kevin Mitchell confident ahead of clash with Michael Katsidis
PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:00 05 October 2010
Kevin Mitchell had to work on the night shift on the London underground a year ago to provide for his young family, now he knows that one good hour's work on Saturday, can set them up for life
Kevin Mitchell had to work on the night shift on the London underground a year ago to provide for his young family, now he knows that one good hour's work on Saturday, when he meets Michael Katsidis for the Interim WBO World Lightweight title can set them up for life.
East London's world title challenger remembers the nights of toil in tunnels deep below London's streets.
"People go on about hungry fighters, but I am a starving fighter. I want this world title more than anything," he said.
"I've had some tough years, but this is my chance to make a name for myself and secure a future for both me and my family. I know I can take it."
Champion and challenger came face to face at press conferences last week and Mitchell paid tribute to Aussie Katsidis. "He's a proper warrior and a real gentleman too," he said.
However, he was also quick to draw attention to the champion's battle-scarred features.
"He's had some tough fights in his time and you can see the scar tissue on his face," said the comparatively unmarked Mitchell.
"I can bust him up and win this fight for sure."
The confidence runs through the Mitchell camp based at Canning Town's TKO gym, where father and son training duo Jimmy and Mark Tibbs have prepared the challenger with their usual thorough build-up for the big night.
"The training has gone really well. Kevin is looking sharp and ready to take the title before his own fans," said former fighter Jimmy, who has developed into one of the sport's most respected cornermen.
The pair took over his training before Mitchell scored his best-ever win, when he easily outpointed Amir Khan's conqueror Breidis Prescott last September. He followed by his spectacular two round Knockout win over Ignacio Mendoza at Wembley in February.
Promoter Frank Warren, who has guided Mitchell through his 31-fight all-winning career, shares the confidence and was clearly in election mode.
"Kevin definitely gets my vote and if he lets his head rule his heart then he can win this one on a landslide," he said.
"Katsidis is no mug and he's coming here to win. But Kevin showed with his impressive display against Breidis Prescott what a good boxing brain he has.
"He's a real character, and when fans get to know him more over the next few years, they are going to love him.
"Kevin may be a cheeky cockney, but he's not a gimmick - believe me, this kid can really fight and you are going to see that on Saturday."
The feature fight is backed up by a quality packed undercard on the Frank Warren promotionand will now feature the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship between Danny Williams and rising star Derek Chisora, after Sam Sexton withdrew from his fight against the Brixton bomber.
Williams was supposed to fight Chisora in February at Wembley Arena, when Sexton pulled out because of hand injury, but claimed he couldn't get himself in the right frame of mind to face the unbeaten Chisora.
AUSTRALIAN iron man Michael Katsidis talks like he throws punches - fast and furious - and says he can't wait to batter challenger Kevin Mitchell to defeat in front of his local fans at Upton Park on Saturday night.
The angry Aussie met the press dressed in his full ancient Greek warrior outfit which he plans to wear into the ring as a tribute to his Mediterranean heritage.
Katsidis' Interim WBO World lightweight title will be on the line when they clash, and he says he's not going home without it.
"West Ham may have stayed up in the Premiership, but I'll be relegating Mitchell to an also ran next weekend," he said.
The 28-year-old has lost just two of his 28 fights, against top class duo Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor in 2008, but has since bounced back with three straight wins, taking the interim world title with a split decision verdict over Vicente Escobedo in Las Vegas last September.
"I've got so many happy memories of London, especially as it was here that I beat Graham Earl at Wembley and really burst on to the scene," he said.
"This time I am really looking forward to shutting Mitchell up on Saturday night.
"All I've read for weeks are his comments in the press calling me an old man and telling everyone how he is going to beat me up when we meet.
"Well I've got a message for him, 'You are dead meat mate'.
"I'm a true gladiator and I'm going to serve up Kevin Mitchell's head on a plate next weekend.
"The fight is going to be the bloodiest of the year in the UK, but it's Mitchell who is going to feel the pain and not me.
"I asked promoter Frank Warren to stage a press conference as early as possible, so I could look Mitchell in the eye and tell him that I am going to break his heart."
Tickets are available for the contest from the West Ham Ticket hotline 0871 2222700 or online at www.whufc.com.