Prospect Seth Mitchell, of Brandywine, Md., suddenly finds himself in reach of being the best heavyweight competing on Saturday night, given the fact that a scheduled bout between Wladimir Klitschko and challenger Jean Marc Mormeck has been postponed.
The 29-year-old Mitchell (23-0-1, 17 knockouts) will face his most difficult opponent to date in 36-year-old Timur Ibragimov (30-3-1, 16 KOs), of Uzbekistan, who is coming off a split-decision loss to former cruiserweight titleholder Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) in December that ended Ibragimov’s winning streak of nine straight victories, including three stoppages.
“I just honestly try to be the best that I can be and try to accomplish as much as I can in the sport. I just believe my style and the way I fight is creating a lot of buzz,” said Mitchell to Yahoo!Sports.
“Not only do I look the part – I’m 6-2, 240-plus pounds – but I bring speed and I bring athleticism and I bring the meanness in the ring, and I compete when I’m in the ring.”
Mitchell will pursue his 22nd straight victory and his 17th knockout during that run in an HBO-televised clash at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center on the undercard of a main event featuring WBA/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan against Lamont Peterson.
Although the heavyweight division is dominated by the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir (56-3, 49 KOs) and Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs), Mitchell, nicknamed, “Mayhem,” is considered by some to be America’s best chance at ending its heavyweight championship drought.
“It’s just something that I was born with, something that was innate as far as my competitive edge,” said Mitchell to Yahoo!Sports. “But, with everybody saying that I’m the next ‘Great American Hope’ builds a great accolade, I don’t let that blow my head up or think too much of myself.”
No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap. In 2006, Hasim Rahman of Baltimore held the WBC belt while the IBF title was held by Chris Byrd.
“I believe in myself and I believe I have the tools and the capability of becoming heavyweight champion of the world,” said Mitchell. “I just continue to just try to work hard and try to be the best that I can so I can provide for my family.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org