Mitchell says he will fight Coyle, Vazquez and Burns in 2014
For want of a better word, Kevin Mitchell (35-2, 25 KOs) was "buzzing" when he spoke to Live Fight ahead of his IBF Inter-Continental title fight against Karim El Ouazghari (15-3-2, 4 KOs), a late change of opponent, on Saturday night at London’s Excel Arena live on Sky Sports.
Mitchell, who turns 30 next year has had the definition of a roller-coaster career since his professional bow in 2003. The highs of defeating the likes of Carl Johanneson (for the British and Commonwealth super featherweight titles in 2008), Breidis Prescott (a classy 12-round shut-out in 2009) and John Murray (a 2011 British fight of the year) have been quickly put to the back of people’s memories. Issues outside the sport, promotional differences with Frank Warren and interim and world title defeats to Michael Katsidis and Ricky Burns, respectively, have left fans wondering how many more chances the Londoner will get at the top.
Now, with the backing of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sports and the return to working with trainer Tony Sims, this year has seen Mitchell on the edge of turning another corner in his career.
“I’ve had ten years as a pro and I’ve now got a new lease of life which is a big deal for me,” Mitchell told Live Fight after today’s final press conference.
“The year I had has saw Burns stop me in four rounds and basically do a job on me. But I picked myself back up, began working with Tony Sims who’s got me in great shape. I’ve had two fights back to back and I think that even now I’m improving. I’m better with better opponents and in 2014 I’m going to show that.”
While the cliché of “one fight at a time” is always on the tip of a fighter’s tongue, Mitchell has clear goals for next year.
“I’ll be fighting Tommy Coyle for a world title eliminator then I’ll be fighting [Miguel] Vazquez in a [IBF] world title fight in the summer all going well. I’ll keep boxing well, keep injury free and keep doing all the good things that I’ve been doing lately.”
And with those two differing obstacles out of the way, Mitchell is keen to make amends for the loss to friend and rival, Ricky Burns, from earlier this year. And when Live Fight mentioned the word “unification fight” in 2014, Mitchell was all over it.
“That’ll happen at the, 100%, definitely. We’ll fill out a football ground next year and that will definitely be on.”
Whether it be talking to Mitchell in person or on the phone, it’s easy to feel that once again his enthusiasm for boxing has returned. New goals, new team, new Kevin Mitchell.
"It’s the best I’ve ever felt because basically I’m working in a better environment, I’m 29 years of age and when I fought for the world titles I wasn’t as mature as I am now. I’m happy because of the team I’ve got around me now. And Tony Sims is putting so much hard work into me that it’s making me feel very confident in myself. I feel very secure with a strong stable as well.
"Working with the whole Matchroom team is a real pleasure, Eddie’s a lovely man because even though I’m working with him he’s like a mate of mine. All the lads in the team right through to all the people in the office are all good people and it’s put a fresh lease of life in me.”