It’s Hammer time for classy Kevin!
BOXING greats John H Stracey, Charlie Magri, Nigel Benn and Frank Bruno all wanted to fight for world titles at West Ham s Upton Park Stadium, but Dagenham s lightweight challenger Kevin Mitchell is the first to make that dream come true. Mitchell, a life
BOXING greats John H Stracey, Charlie Magri, Nigel Benn and Frank Bruno all wanted to fight for world titles at West Ham's Upton Park Stadium, but Dagenham's lightweight challenger Kevin Mitchell is the first to make that dream come true.
Mitchell, a life-long West Ham fan, will fight the power-punching Australian Michael Katsidis, holder of the WBO interim world title, at Upton Park on May 15.
Promoter Frank Warren predicts it will be his biggest show since more than 50,000 packed the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, for Joe Calzaghe's super-middleweight fight against Mikkel Kessler in 2007.
For Mitchell, it's a dream come true and an opportunity to perform at the stadium where many of his heroes plied their trade, including World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst.
"I grew up watching West Ham play and if I hadn't been a boxer I would have been a footballer," said Mitchell, who is unbeaten in 31 fights.
"One of my proudest moments was being introduced to the fans before a game the other week and getting an amazing reception.
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"But now I'm going to be fighting here and I still can't quite believe it. The fans are very special people, and to fight in front of them is a dream come true.
"Boxing and football are a way of life around here and I think you are going to see an amazing event on May 15, with everyone turning out to see it."
Warren added: "There is a long history of boxing in the East End stretching back to the days of Ted 'Kid' Lewis.
"But Kevin has got the chance to do what none of the great East End fighters did, and that's fighting for a World title at Upton Park.
"The response from all over London has been fantastic. We've waited a long time for a London fighter who can fill stadiums, and Kevin can be that man.
"If he beats Katsidis then you are going to see more big fights at West Ham.
"I can promise you that May 15 is going to be an atmospheric and historic occasion."
On the undercard, Sam Sexton will challenge Danny Williams for the British heavyweight title, while Derek Chisora features in a 10-rounder.
James DeGale, the 2008 Olympic champion, challenges for his first title, the WBA Intercontinental super-middleweight belt, while Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders feature in eight-rounders.
Tickets are available from the ticket hotline on 0871 2200260 or online at www.seetickets.com