Mitchell relishing return to the ring at Upton Park
12:00 17 May 2012
Kevin Mitchell has high hopes that his dream fight, a clash with WBO lightweight title-holder Ricky Burns, will take place at West Ham United’s Upton Park ground on the night of July 14.
Promoter Frank Warren, who guides both fighters, has already announced the controversial David Haye versus Derek Chisora heavyweight showdown for that date – and Mitchell could get his chance on the biggest London bill of the year.
The fighter, based at Canning Town’s TKO Gym, admitted at the weekend: “It looks like it will be me against Ricky Burns on July 14 – nothing has been signed yet but it’s looking that way.”
Despite the protests of the British Boxing Board of Control, the heavyweight clash will be sanctioned by another European boxing body, the Luxembourg Boxing Federation.
Warren insists that around 20,000 tickets have already been sold, with twice that number expected for a record crowd on the night.
The world-title clash between challenger Mitchell, with a single defeat in 34 contests, and Scottish world champion Burns, who has been beaten twice in 35 pro bouts, would certainly add extra appeal to the show.
Mitchell will welcome the chance of fighting again at Upton Park where he suffered his sole pro defeat against powerful Aussie Michael Katsidis two years ago, when he was stopped in three rounds.
Burns outpointed Katsidis at Wembley last year, yet Mitchell also holds a win over the last boxer to beat the Scot, Leeds fighter Carl Johanneson.
■ While Mitchell anticipates his world title chance in July, his TKO Gym stablemate Colin Lynes had his British welterweight title reign ended by former world king Junior Witter in Sheffield on Saturday night.
It was a bitter setback for 34-year-old Lynes, who knew that victory over the 38-year-old Witter would have opened the door for new title chances.
Instead, he must consider his fighting future after another defeat at the hands of the seasoned switch-hitting Witter, who defeated him on points at York Hall in 2005.
Once more it was a unanimous verdict, but again one official had just one point between the pair with the ringside judges voting 117-112, 116-114 and 115-114 for the home-town fighter.
Lynes, the former European light-welterweight champion, took the British welter crown with a superb win over the aggressive Lee Purdy at York Hall last November, but has more trouble chasing the elusive boxers – and the awkward Witter certainly comes in that category.
Scoring with his speedy shots and then moving out of range or blatantly holding, the Yorkshire veteran built up a lead on the judges’ scorecards.
Lynes, who clearly looked below his best, shook Witter when he found the target with solid shots in the later stages and was a disappointed man when the decision that cost him his title was announced.