Mitchell bids for title glory in Glasgow
Big fight preview: Kevin Mitchell v Ricky Burns
Kevin Mitchell faces a crucial WBO lightweight challenge against Scotland’s Ricky Burns at the SECC, Glasgow on Saturday night and insists he is ready to achieve the victory he has been targeting since his career began.
The east London fighter has lived in the shadow of his previous world title bid against Australian Michael Katsidis at West Ham United FC two years ago, when he was beaten inside three rounds – his only defeat.
And the 28-year-old insists he will not suffer another humiliation.
Mitchell said: “Yes, I got beat by Katsidis, but there was so much going on in my life at the time, my mind was not in the right place.
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“It will be different on Saturday night, I’ll be on form for my fans. I fancy it to be a hard, gutsy fight – a tough 12 rounds.
“So, I have prepared my body like I did for the John Murray fight and kept my mind straight.
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“Ricky Burns is a very good fighter, but I will take his title in front of his own fans in Glasgow.”
The ‘Battle of Britain’ duel, which will be screened on BoxNation, has been hailed as Scotland’s biggest fight for years, attracting thousands of local fans, plus an army of Mitchell’s supporters who will be heading north to cheer on their hero.
The fighters’ records are similar, Mitchell has suffered one defeat in 34 contests, while his 29-year-old rival has lost two of his 36 bouts.
The champion’s world title triumphs include a sparkling win over Katsidis, who halted Mitchell, but the challenger can point to his stoppage victory over Carl Johanneson, who clearly outpointed Burns.
The confidence in the challenger’s camp is reflected by Mark Tibbs, who works alongside his father Jimmy as joint trainer.
He said: “Embarrassing himself at West Ham that night has been the best thing that’s happened to Kevin. It forced him to grow up as both an athlete and, most crucially, as an individual.
“We’ve had a fantastic camp. We did our early work at the TKO in Canning Town and dad’s friends, Riley and Lee Wilson, made us welcome at The Newlands Gym at their farm in Wickford, where Kev’s done three weeks of very hard sparring with big heavy guys, stand up boxers and brawlers. He’s in tip-top nick.”
Nobody is anticipating an easy night against the home favourite in Glasgow.
But, Tibbs junior, predicts: “Kevin has that little bit more than Ricky, he is a little bit more vicious and spiteful.
“But we know it isn’t going to be easy. It will be brutal.”