Seth Mitchell, the 29-year-old heavyweight prospect from Brandywine, MD., will most likely hear a lot of cheers the night of Dec. 10. A native of Brandywine, Md., he’ll be fighting on the undercard of HBO’s broadcast of Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson, just a few miles down the road in Washington, D.C.
A graduate of Gwynn Park High, where he played football as a star linebacker and was named Maryland’s Defensive Player of the Year, Mitchell grew up within minutes of where he will fight for the 24th victory of his career.
No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap, and Mitchell (23-0-1, 17 KOs), nicknamed “Mayhem,” is seen by many as the man who could end America’s championship drought.
Vitali is riding an 11-fight winning streak that includes nine stoppages and is the WBC titleholder, while Wladimir owns the WBA, WBO and IBF belts and currently is riding a winning streak of 14 consecutive bouts, with 10 knockouts during that time.
The venue for Khan-Peterson is yet to be determined, though Peterson’s hometown of Washington, D.C. is fixed. Meanwhile, Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) and Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) are in London along with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer for a Tuesday press conference promoting the event.
Khan and Peterson will also be on hand on Thursday along with Mitchell for another press conference in Washington, D.C.
RingTV.com conducted a Q&A with Mitchell to get his thoughts on the upcoming event:
RingTV.com: Ready to fight before your hometown fans on HBO?
Seth Mitchell: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m excited. I’ll be ready come Dec. 10. I heard about the press conference that’s going to be on Thursday. I haven’t heard officially from Golden Boy, but they’ve told my manager about it.
I’m looking forward to getting the call. I’ll definitely be there. I’ve fought locally here several times. Out of my 24 fights, I’ve fought here 12 or 13 times in the area.
But of course there has never been anything of this magnitude. This is my first time doing it on HBO, so there has never been anything like this.
RingTV.com: Is there any buzz around town about it?
SM: I have a pretty big fan base here, so I’ve told a lot of people. They’re excited. The Mayhem fans are definitely going to be out and excited to support me.
I’m just looking forward to Dec. 10, and they’re definitely excited. Once the tickets go on sale, they’re saying, “Just keep me posted,” and things like that.
The atmosphere is definitely going to be thick, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of Mayhem fans out there.
But we haven’t sat down and talked bout that yet.
RingTV.com: Are you ready to step up the competition?
SM: I definitely feel that I’m ready to start fighting people who are ranked in the top 20, you know, top 15. But we do everything within our team by consensus.
So we will sit down and we’ll talk among each other and we’ll have that discussion. We’ll throw a couple of names out there and we’ll decipher and see who we’ll fight next.
But listen, I’ll be ready for whoever they put in front of me. You know, my team is smart, and I think they’re moving me along in the right fashion. I’m not scared of anybody and I’m not ducking anybody.
I’ll be ready on Dec. 10, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting. All of this is not getting to me as far as this being the big stage.
You know me. I trust and I believe. I’m back in the gym already, but on Oct. 10, we’ll start really getting into our preparation and to get ready for Dec. 10.
RingTV.com: So your not feeling any pressure being projected as the next American heavyweight title hopeful?
SM: I’m just excited to go out there on Dec. 10 to show the people in this venue that I’m worthy of those words and those comments regarding me being the next American heavyweight hopeful.
Come Dec. 10, hopefully, I continue to show people why they’re saying that. I’m so focused right now, I mean, it’s crazy, man.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com