Harry Pratt

Mitchell thinking big once he topples Burns


British lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (right) has big plans — which include fighting in the U.S. — if he can upset Ricky Burns (left) in the WBO titleholder’s native Scotland on Saturday.


Kevin Mitchell aims to set the record straight once and for all this Saturday when he challenges WBO lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns at the SECC in Glasgow, Scotland.

The English contender knows that talking a big fight is one thing, putting it into action, pulling everything together on the night and delivering, quite another. But the prospect of overcoming Burns in his own backyard and ending the Scottish favourite’s 19-fight winning streak is one Mitchell is relishing.

Sure, he may have blown it just over two years ago, in front of a huge, expectant east London crowd at his beloved West Ham football club, by suffering a humiliating third-round KO to Aussie Michael Katsidis in an interim title bout. However, that was then – when, as he puts it, “the head was not in the right place” – whereas this is now – when he is as fit as a fiddle, physically and mentally.

Mitchell (33-1, 24 knockouts) certainly believes he is capable of upsetting Burns, THE RING’s No. 3-rated lightweight, one place above the man from Dagenham, Essex. For, if reluctant to talk about the actual dethroning of Burns (34-2, 9 KOs), he is happy to envisage what the future will hold once in possession of the WBO strap.

“I want to be more active after this fight. When I win this fight, I want to be a world champion who is active, fighting big names,” Mitchell, 27, recently told BoxNation, who are broadcasting the action from the Scottish Exhibition Centre. “Basically, I want to become a superstar in this sport and to be recognised as one of the top names in this weight division.

“I’d like to go to Las Vegas for my next fight. I know there are a few loud mouths out there. It would be good to shut them up.”

Those comments in no way disregard or disrespect the threat of classy Burns, who time and again emerges triumphant over dangerous opposition. They are more an indication of just how good Mitchell is feeling compared with May 2010, when he flunked out to Katsidis, whom Burns would defeat on points 18 months later.

“Of course, I’m looking forward to it. I’m in tremendous shape and I’ve never been like this before. It’s basically down to my age and getting older,” said Mitchell. “For my last big one at Upton Park, I told everyone I was flying when I was really hiding everything. It was immaturity in a young man.

“But you learn from mistakes in life, especially when they happen in front of 24,000 people and everyone sees you embarrass yourself. That will never happen again.

“It’s been a long road back, and I’ve learned the hard way. But I’ve been working hard and I’m ready for this one. When we get in the ring, I’ll look at Ricky Burns, he’ll look at me and we’ll both know that it’s time to go to work.”



Photo / Mike Hewitt-Getty Images

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