Mitchell: I’ll take Linares to the trenches
PUBLISHED: 14:57 28 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:57 28 May 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Dagenham fighter ready for war
Kevin Mitchell knows he must make it third time lucky when he bids for global glory at the O2 Arena against Venezuela’s three-weight world champion and WBC title-holder Jorge Linares on Saturday.
The Dagenham Destroyer’s previous attempts for WBO versions of the title, against Aussie Michael Katsidis in 2010 and Ricky Burns two years later, both ended in early defeats.
They are the only two losses in a 41-bout career lasting 12 years and in both bouts Mitchell tried to attack too soon and walked into trouble.
The bookmakers are calling it an even money fight and the challenger knows he faces a difficult test, but he reveals the tactics he believes will earn him the WBC belt.
“I will take Linares to the trenches,” said Mitchell, predicting he will beat the champion after a long, hard struggle.
And I agree that will be his key to claiming the crown he has waited so long to win.
As usual fight-wise Mitchell has studied his opponent and knows Linares is a talented box-fighter who has fought mainly in Japan, earlier winning and defending world titles at featherweight and super-featherweight.
Kevin has had his share of quick-fire knockouts in the past, but his best performances have been in longer distance wins - outpointing Bredis Prescott, conqueror of Amir Khan, then stopping the previously unbeaten John Murray in 2011.
Both wins saw Mitchell take his time and triumph - exactly the tactics he employed in his two latest victories, defeating Canada-based Ghislain Maduma a year ago and producing his best ring skills before stopping Daniel Estrada in eight rounds at the 02 earlier this year.
Mitchell rates the previously unbeaten Mudama as the toughest opponent he has faced, but he defeated him in the 11th round after a bruising battle: taking him to the trenches.
He could not do that against Katsidis or Burns because he now admits he was short of his best form, lacking the condition he has been drilled into by current trainer Tony Sims.
“I was partying and enjoying myself too much in those days. I’m more mature now, I’ve grown up,” said Mitchell, who knows he faces the most competitive contest of the three world title fights billed at the 02.
In the others, Kell Brook is a hot favourite to defeat IBF welterweight challenger Frankie Gavin and Lee Selby is odds-on to take Evgeny Gradovich’s IBF featherweight belt.
Mitchell is one of a trio of fighters trained by Sims in action on Saturday, alongside Anthony Joshua and John Ryder.
Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Joshua faces his toughest pro test against Kevin Johnson and middleweight Ryder meets Nick Blackwell for the British title.
Mitchell stresses his trainer’s efforts will earn him the rewards on the biggest night of his career, adding: “I’ve really grafted for the past two years under Tony Sims. It’s been hell, but it will be worth it when I take that title.”
Big fight verdicts
MC Michael Buffer: “This fight won’t go the distance, both guys can bang. Mitchell has bounced back with six straight wins and five KOs, he’s determined to land his first world title. Linares didn’t travel thousands of miles to leave his belt in the UK. I’ve been at ringside for both of these fighters and it should be war.”
WBC world lightweight champion Jorge Linares: “I have had a great training camp focusing on the skills that I need to defeat an opponent like Kevin Mitchell. He is a strong and aggressive fighter and I feel his style of fighting will suit me. I know this will not be an easy fight.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn: “I’d be devastated if we don’t see Kevin beat Linares and lift the world title. He’s such a great grafter. I’ve delivered the shot because I believe Mitchell can win the world title and beat any lightweight in the world.”
Irish fighter Jamie Kavanagh: “I have sparred with Jorge many times at the Wild Card gym and I think Kevin Mitchell can beat him. It will not be an easy fight, but Kevin is a great boxer with the attributes to win the world title.”
Dagenham BC secretary Dan O’Sullivan has followed Kevin Mitchell for 20 years and said: “We all know Kevin has fantastic ability and I think he can at last take the world title he deserves. I am tipping a Dagenham double on Saturday. Our schoolboy Tariq Agius for an England Schools’ title at Sheffield and Kevin to win at the 02.”