Mitchell ‘ready for a world title fight’ after facing Estrada
British lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell has been stopped in both of his losses, the second one coming by fourth round technical knockout in September 2012 against Ricky Burns in a failed bid to earn the WBO’s title.
“That journey is what makes a fighter. It would be easy for me to call it a day and get a job. I don’t want to do that. I want to fight and win a world title. That’s not easy. It’s not easy being in the gym, putting your body through a camp, sparring these young and hungry lads when I am 30,” said Mitchell.
“It’s not easy but I love it. Not winning a world title would be a massive regret. My trainer, Tony Sims has said to me that if I don’t win a world title, it would be unbelievable. I am heavy-handed. I am talented. I work hard. I have had my ups and downs but right now is my time to make sure that I don’t have to live with that regret.”
But Mitchell (38-2, 28 knockouts) appears to have been rejuvenated since falling to Burns, having won five straight fights, the past four by stoppage, entering Saturday’s clash with Daniel Estrada (32-3-1, 24 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London.
“I have been fighting now for 20 years and my dream has always been to be a world champion. Now is the time for that shot at the title. I am mature now. I have no longer got any boyish ways about me and I am ready for that title. Time is running out. I have 40 fights. I am nearly 30. This is my last shot. If I can get that world title, then I might have another three or four more years left in the game to make some serious money and call it a day,” said Mitchell.
“But right now, it’s make-or-break for me, I know that and that’s what makes it more interesting. If I can’t beat this kid, I might as well go and get a day job. If I lose this, there won’t be much more left in the sport for me. So it’s 100 percent a fight I have to win and I really do fancy myself to beat him. My maturity of mind will be a strong asset for me.”
There may yet be hope for Mitchell, who could be in line for a shot at WBC beltholder Jorge Linares if he gets beyond Estrada, 29. Estrada was last in the ring for a ninth-round knockout loss to then-WBC titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. in August, ending a nine-fight winning streak that had included five knockouts.
In the wake of the injured Figueroa being stripped and declared a “champion in recess” by the WBC, Linares, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder, knocked out Javier Prieto for the vacant 135-pound belt last month.
“I am ready now; I am mature enough and man enough for them now. Before, I don’t think that I was; now I know I am. It’s the last straw and that’s what is making even hungrier for it. I am at my peak now, based on my maturity and experience,” said Mitchell, who believes he could beat Linares by knockout.
“I should have been a world champion years ago and I should be made for life now. But things happen in your life and career. That’s what makes the story of a fighter. I wouldn’t change the way my life has gone one bit. I messed up when I was young, had a few problems at home, made comebacks, got beaten by Ricky for a world title, came back again.”
Mitchell is coming off an 11th round stoppage over previously unbeaten Ghislain Maduma in May.
“Ghislain Maduma is probably the best opponent I have been in with,” said Mitchell, who was also stopped by Michael Katsidis in the third round in May 2010. “He was tricky with heavy, fast hands and I took him apart. I am at the stage now that I am ready for a world title fight.”