Mitchell: Now the time is right to be world champion
PUBLISHED: 15:13 12 March 2015 | UPDATED: 15:13 12 March 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
East End boxer Kevin Mitchell looks to the future in the final part of our revealing interview
Kevin Mitchell believes he is finally ready to take the world title after two failed attempts to win the crown in his rollercoaster career in boxing.
An impressive victory in his last fight against Daniel Estrada at the O2 in January made him the mandatory challenger for the world lightweight title and negotiations are ongoing with champion Jorge Linares from Venezuela.
And it will be a new, happy and mature Dagenham fighter who will step into the ring later this year and he knows it is likely to be his last chance.
“My last fight against Estrada was my best performance,” said Mitchell. “I have had some good performances, but this one was against a good guy, it was a mature performance.
“Before the fight people thought that I was finished, but that was an explosive punching display against a bloke who had fought at a good level.”
At 30, time may be running out for Mitchell to finally achieve his ambition, but he is fully aware of that.
“I would have retired if I hadn’t won against Estrada,” he said. “But what spurred me on was that if I win the fight, I get a shot at the world title and if I win that, I am mortgage free – that was a big incentive to me.”
Mitchell took eight rounds to put Estrada away in January and he believes the Linares fight can go the same way for him. “He is good, but not too different to Estrada,” said Mitchell.
“He is classier, smart and a three-weight world champion, but he has been knocked out three times so he can be got at.
“I have watched him and what I have seen says that if I can get to him, I can get him, especially the way I am training in the gym at the moment.
“I have been sparring with the likes of Ricky Burns, Martin Ward, Johnny Weiler, Luke Cowell and Richard Comie.”
So why should his third crack at the title be any different to the two defeats he has already suffered?
“This is the time, 100 per cent, I’m ready for it,” he insisted.
“The other times I was never mature enough to win the world title, but now I am. If I win the world title I think I would have another three years left.
“You are only seeing the best of me now because I am training the best and I am living my life to the best too.”
Mitchell admits that most of that is down to trainer Tony Sims and new promoter Eddie Hearn at Matchroom who have helped resurrect his wavering career.
“Tony loves us and he is like a father figure to us,” he said. “He looks after me and I know that when I stand in front of someone who is a good fighter, who can mix it with me, I know that I have got a great team behind me and they all want me to win.”
So when and where will Mitchell step in to the ring for that world title bid? He is not sure just yet.
“Negotiations are on now,” he said. “I can imagine he is going to want it in the States, but I will go there and I will beat him out there. We would like to bring it back here, but if the money is right I have no fears about going out there.
“I think he lives in Japan, so if they pay the money I will go out there too, but we will see.”
It looks like if the price is right, it will be anytime and anywhere for Mitchell. It will certainly not be easy, but it seems like for the first time he will be fully prepared to fulfil what he feels is his destiny.