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Mitchell preparing for ‘must-win’ clash

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 December 2014

Kevin Mitchell celebrates defeating Ghislain Maduma at Wembley Stadium, London (pic: Peter Byrne/PA)

Kevin Mitchell celebrates defeating Ghislain Maduma at Wembley Stadium, London (pic: Peter Byrne/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

World title dreams on the line for lightweight

Kevin Mitchell has earned an impressive array of titles during a fighting life of almost 20 years, but admits he will always look back with ‘massive regret,’ if he fails to win a world crown.

That global belt clearly tops Mitchell’s wish list as he looks forward to 2015, starting with a ‘must-win’ clash at the O2 Arena on January 31.

The 30-year-old faces tough Mexican Daniel Estrada for the WBC Silver lightweight title over 12 rounds on Eddie Hearn’s ‘Capital Punishment’ bill, with just two defeats in 40 pro contests – both in bouts that carried a world title label – to date.

He said: “I should have won a world title years ago, but things happened and it did not work out - that’s life.

“Now I know I have to beat Estrada to be in line for a title shot later in the year and I’m certain I will do that.”

Mitchell knows he faces a top class rival as the tall Mexican’s last outing was a WBC title challenge against Omar Figueroa in California in August which he lost in nine rounds.

The visitor has a solid record with just three defeats in 36 bouts, but with his 30th birthday just two months after the fight, Estrada must realise, like his rival, that a loss could leave him out of the world title picture.

It will be Mitchell’s first appearance since his thrilling 11th-round stoppage of Canadian Ghislain Maduma on the massive Froch v Groves II bill at Wembley Stadium in May.

Behind on points, Mitchell dramatically turned the tide and won with a performance he ranks with the best of his 38 victories.

Alongside those wins are defeats against Aussie Michael Katsidis in 2010 and two years later Scot Ricky Burns, currently his stablemate in Tony Sims’ busy camp.

East Londoner Sims took Mitchell and other members of his stable on a training trip to Portugal three weeks ago.

“Kevin is working really hard in preparation for his fight with Estrada, he realises just how important the victory will be for his big time ambitions,” said Sims.

Promoter Hearn has applied to have the clash with Estrada recognised as a final eliminator for the world title.

The clash at the O2 is part of a big night of boxing in the capital as Olympic gold medal sensation Anthony Joshua MBE and middleweight John Ryder are also in action on the bill.

Joshua has a perfect 10 KO wins from 10 pro fights and is due to defend his WBC International heavyweight title.

Middleweight Ryder defends his WBO Inter-Continental title on a bill which also sees Tommy Martin meet Ricky Boylan for the vacant English light-welterweight crown.

John Wayne Hibbert defends his WBC International light-welterweight title against Tyler Goodjohn on the same show.

n After five straight professional wins light-middleweight Ben Hall is booked for his toughest test when he appears on the January 31 show at the 02 Arena.

Hall, a 21-year-old prospect, boxed for Dagenham and Repton during his amateur career before he switched to the paid ranks, making his debut last March.

Now managed by Peter Sims, Hall faces former Southern Area champion and English title challenger Ryan Toms from Northolt on the Matchroom bill.

Also on the supporting card is explosive lightweight Ohara Davies, who has halted three of his four professional opponents in an unbeaten run that stretches back through his amateur career at Repton.

Davies meets a selected opponent on the bill that raises the curtain on Matchroom’s ambitious 2015 programme and features the pro debut of former amateur star Charlie Edwards.

Flyweight Edwards is a 21-year-old England amateur star who won a bronze medal at the European Championships in Turkey in 2011 and switched from Repton to Dagenham last summer.

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