Kevin Mitchell on Jorge Linares: ‘I believe I would knock him out’
British lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell wants a shot at WBC titleholder Jorge Linares should he get beyond Daniel Estrada on Jan. 31 at the O2 Arena in London, according to a release from Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.
As part of a card that will also include heavyweight Anthony Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist for Great Britain, Mitchell (38-2, 28 KOs) could earn his sixth straight victory in a run that has included four consecutive knockouts, the last coming by 11th-round stoppage over previously unbeaten Ghislain Maduma in May.
In the wake of injured beltholder Omar Figueroa Jr. being stripped and declared a “champion in recess” by the WBC, former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder Linares (38-3, 25 KOs) knocked out Javier Prieto for the vacant 135-pound belt last month.
“The WBC route is one that I feel I can go down better than any of the others. I know that I can beat Linares,” said Mitchell, 30. “I believe I would knock him out and take that title. Eddie Hearn puts the fighters in front of me and I take them out. That’s the deal.”
Estrada (32-3-1, 24 KOs), 29, was last in the ring for a ninth-round stoppage loss to then-titleholder Figueroa in August, ending a nine-fight winning streak that had included five knockouts.
“Estrada is a Mexican fighter, so he’s going to be game and as tough as they come. He’s a good fighter. He’s quite upright; his hands are wide and he’s a good boxer that doesn’t get involved in a scrap unless he has to,” said Mitchell.
“He caused Omar Figueroa problems until he got chinned and that will be in the back of his mind as it’s his first fight back. It’s a massive fight for us both. It’s a fight I simply have to win.”
In another bout, middleweight John Ryder will face Les Sherrington. Ryder, 26, has won four consecutive fights since falling by unanimous decision in September 2013 to undefeated Billy Joe Saunders, who could soon face WBO titleholder Andy Lee.
Sherrington, 32, has won two straight since falling by ninth round knockout to former IBF beltholder Sam Soliman in December 2013. Sherrington is coming off last month’s unanimous decision over Samir Santos Barbosa.
FRANCISCO SANTANA ‘TO MAKE NOISE’ VS. KENDAL MENA
Francisco Santana wants to “make some noise in the welterweight division” with a victory over undefeated Kendal Mena on Friday at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
Santana (21-3-1, 10 KOs) will face Mena (20-0, 11 KOs) in support of a main event between lightweights Darleys Perez and Jonathan Maicelo as part of a show being promoted by Gary Shaw.
The 28-year-old Santana has won nine straight fights, four by stoppage, since falling in October 2011 to current undefeated junior middleweight Jermell Charlo.
In his last fight in August, Santana scored a fifth round knockout over Luis Alfredo Lugo that had followed a unanimous decision in June over previously undefeated junior middleweight Eddie Gomez.
“I was supposed to fight Sebastian Lujan and then Randall Bailey but both bouts fell out,” said Santana. “Now I’m fighting Mena, who is undefeated, which is a fight I’m looking forward to.”
A rising junior welterweight, Mena has won his past three fights by knockout and was last in the ring for second round knockout of William Tapia on Dec. 7, 2013.
Mena has not yet fought a boxer with a winning record. In addition, with the exception of his sixth round technical knockout over Ambioris Figuero (who entered with a mark of 13-13-5 in August 2008), Mena has not even faced a fighter with a .500 record.
“A win against Mena will be a nice nod on my record. I’m moving down to 147 for this fight. I know I can make some noise in the welterweight division,” said Santana. “Gary Shaw, who is a man of his word, has promised me some big fights. So I’m going to do my best to perform to my best ability.”
In the main event, Perez will take on Maicelo in what is “a true crossroads fight,” according to Shaw.
Since falling by unanimous decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa in June 2013, Perez, of Columbia, has won three consecutive bouts. Perez, 31, was last in action for a sixth round knockout against Jaider Parra in October, ending Parra’s three-fight winning streak.
Maicelo, 31, is 4-1 with two knockouts since August 2012, when he made his debut under Shaw with a unanimous decision over Wilfredo Acuna in support of Perez’s split decision victory over Bahodir Mamadjonov.
Maicelo’s sole loss was against Rustam Nugaev, who knocked him out in the eighth round in April 2013. Maicelo was last in the ring for a split decision over Art Hovhannisyan in July.
Heavyweight contender Mike Perez, 29, could face an opponent to be determined on the card. Perez is 1-1-1 over the course of his past three fights and was last in action for a disputed split decision loss in July to undefeated Bryant Jennings, who is in negotiations to challenge RING champion Wladimir Klitschko on April 25.
Prior to facing Jennings, Perez battled once-beaten Carlos Takam to a draw in January that had followed a brutal November 2013 10-round unanimous decision victory that left Magomed Abdusalamov in a medically-induced coma.
The following are the rest of the fights scheduled for Friday’s “ESPN Friday Night Fights” card:
Featherweights: Roman Morales vs. Ernesto Guerrero
Heavyweights: Jarrell Miller vs. Aaron Kinch
Featherweights: Manuel Romero vs. Oscar Rojas
Junior flyweight : Maria Suarez vs. Jolene Blackshear
Flyweight: Poula Estrada vs. Kaiyana Rain