American heavyweight hopeful Seth Mitchell has expressed confidence in what he has called a “do or die” fight with former title challenger Chris Arreola that is expected to land at Fantasy Sports Casino in Indio, Calif., on Sept. 6 on Showtime.
Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 knockouts) is coming off June’s unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks that avenged a second-round stoppage loss in November, and Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs) had surgery in May to repair a broken nose suffered during April’s unanimous-decision loss to Bermane Stiverne.
After falling to Banks, Mitchell boxed his way to victory from behind his jab.
“I don’t think he is going to allow me to do that. From everything that I’ve seen him do on tape, Chris is an aggressive, come-forward fighter. I don’t believe that he can outbox me. I think that the only chance that he does have to beat me is to be the bull, and that’s what I expect. But we’ll have two or three game plans ready for that fight,” said Mitchell.
“He’s a good fighter, but I’m confident that I’m going to win the fight. I’m not worried about fighting in his home town. I’m just going to go and handle my responsibilities, do what I’ve been trained to do. We have a good game plan for this fight, and I’m expecting the best Chris Arreola. I’m not underestimating him at all. He lets his hands go, and sometimes, they come from awkward angles. That’s something that I have to be leery of.”
VIRGIL HUNTER CALLS AMIR KHAN ‘A SPECIAL TALENT’
When former 140-pound titleholder elects to rise into the 147-pound division for a proposed Dec. 7 bout, possibly against IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander in Dubai, trainer Virgil Hunter hopes that he will be a fighter whose game has been taken to a higher level.
Khan would be looking for his third straight victory in as many fights under Hunter. In April, Khan rose from a fourth-round knockdown for a unanimous decision over former two-time lightweight beltholder Julio Diaz that followed up December’s 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Molina.
Questions about Khan’s ability to take a punch, stemming from a first-round KO loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008, have continued to plague him. Khan was knocked out again by Danny Garcia in July of last year. Prior to facing Garcia, Khan had lost a disputed split-decision to current IBF 140-pound beltholder, Lamont Peterson.
“Look, Amir is a special talent. He’s scheduled to fight on Dec. 7, and he’s moving up to 147 pounds. Like I’ve discussed with him, I think that if he gets with me in between fights, where we can correct some of the things that we need to correct, then I think that he can take his game up to another not and another level,” said Hunter, who replaced Freddie Roach in Khan’s corner.
“When we first met, he asked me if I had time for him, and I told him that I would be here. So he’s going to have to back his end up on that. He’s going to have to make time for me. If he can do that and commit to working on his game in between fights, I don’t worry about what anybody says about Amir. He’s a special talent. I need him to commit to working in mini-camps where we have the time to work on one thing. If he can concentrate on that, then it’s going to take him up a notch, without a doubt.”
Hunter said he has will send a coach over to England to begin training Khan on Aug. 14 in anticipation of his next fight.
“I have somebody going to England. We’re looking to get him in pretty early, either at the end of August or the beginning of September,” said Hunter.
“There are a couple of things that I want to work on specifically, such as his positioning. And by Amir coming in early, that’s going to give me some time to address that before we actually go into camp mode.”
Khan left Roach following the loss to Garcia, ending a run of 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins. Khan began working with Roach following his loss to Prescott. From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major 140-pound title belts.
That stretch also included knockouts of New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
RUSTAM NUGAEV FIGHTS JOSE HERNANDEZ ON SATURDAY
Lightweights Rustum Nugaev (24-6, 14 KOs) and Jose Hernandez (14-6-1, 6 KOs) square off in the main event, with the co-feature matching junior featherweights Jose Pedraza (13-0, 9 KOs) and Gabriel Tomalyjan (13-2-1, 3 KOs) on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights on Friday at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, Calif.
Promoted by Gary Shaw Productions in association with Lucas Oil, the event’s undercard will include a junior lightweight bout between Emmanuel Tagoe (21-1, 8 KOs) and Gerardo Robles (16-11, 7 KOs), lightweights Alex Luna (14-0, 10 KOs) and Christopher Rivera (5-12-1, 4 KOs), and Roy Tapia (5-0-1, 2 KOs) against Eliezer Agosto (2-2, 2 KOs) in a junior featherweight clash.
In addition, Edgardo Laboy (6-0, 3 KOs) will face Jose Iniguez (6-16, 1 KO) in a junior featherweight fight, and junior middleweight Arnold Barboza (1-0) will meet an opponent to be determined.
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org