Unbeaten prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell held an open workout on Wednesday at the Dream Team Boxing Gym in Clinton, Md., in advance of his heavyweight fight with Chazz Witherspoon on April 28 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Considered America’s best hope at ending the country’s drought of champions in the division, Mitchell (24-0-1, 18 knockouts), of Brandywine, Md., will meet Witherspoon (30-2, 22 KOs) on the undercard of the rematch between RING light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson in an HBO-televised event.
Mitchell, 29 ,is coming off an HBO-televised second-round knockout of Timur Ibragimov (30-4, 1, 22 KOs) that earned him his 22nd consecutive victory and his 17th knockout at The Washington Convention Center last December.
Mitchell is after his 10th consecutive stoppage victory against Witherspoon, who has reeled off four straight knockout victories since, himself, being stopped by southpaw contender Tony Thompson in the ninth round in December of 2009 at Boardwalk Hall.
The Ukrainian Klitscho brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, dominate the division, but even they have mentioned Mitchell as perhaps the United States’ best chance at ending its heavyweight championship losing spree.
“In the future, you have a good, young, up and coming heavyweight in Seth Mitchell, that is coming actually from American football,” said Wladimir Klitschko in a recent interview. “He just knocked out an opponent very impressively in Ibragimov.”
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.
Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz, the first Latino to win a heavyweight belt, held the WBA title from 2001 to 2005.
But even if the public demands an immediate title shot in the event that Mitchell has a triumphant performance against Witherspoon, Mitchell says his a title match “definitely will not be my next fight.”
“It will be in 2013,” said Mitchell. “If I continue to win, no injuries, no setbacks, you know?”
Mitchell-Witherspoon matches two African American college graduates.
A former scholarship linebacker at Michigan State, Mitchell was named Maryland’s Defensive Player of the Year at Gwynn Park High in Brandywine, Md. by the Associated Press. Mitchell began boxing shortly after graduating from college with a degree in criminal justice.
Witherspoon, 30, is a former high school basketball and track star who turned down athletic scholarships for an academic one to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, from which he graduated with a degree in pharmaceuticals.
“He’s a college-educated man, as well as Chazz Witherspoon. He’s a very community involved guy and a family man. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the fact that we stole one from football. They’ve certainly gotten enough from boxing in the past,” said Mitchell’s manager, Brother Sharif Salim.
“So he has that marketabliity. He’s not too nice. He’s just a very cordial, very polite gentleman. But at the same time, his nickname isn’t “Take It Easy,’ his nickname is ‘Mayhem.’ So I think that he is definitely primed to continue to rise and to get the due respect and the noteriety that the heavyweight division has not had in years, particularly, in America.”
Photos by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions