KEVIN MITCHELL believes he is in the best form of his life as the Dagenham lightweight approaches his shot at WBC champion Jorge Linares on May 30 in London. In a wide-ranging interview, the majority of which can be found in this week’s Boxing News, Mitchell, promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom company and trained by Tony Sims, explained why he feels ready for the challenge, physically, mentally and emotionally.
“With the team I’ve got now I get in the ring happy, I feel safe, secure, I’ve got everyone behind me,” he stated. “Years before I got with Eddie, me and my dad was watching a show in Rainham, one of Eddie’s early shows and he was going mad at ringside, cheering on one of his fighters. My dad said, ‘You never see your managers or promoters happy for you like this.’ It was nice to see a promoter so happy and enthusiastic for his fighter.
“Life’s about timing and I’m 30 now, mature and my last two fights… the Canadian kid [Ghislain Maduma] was probably the best opponent I ever fought – better than Ricky Burns and Michael Katsidis [both of whom halted Mitchell in his only professional defeats] – and I nailed him in the end [rsf 11, May last year], and my last fight [against Daniel Estrada, rsf 8 in January] was one of my best performances.”
Having suffered quick and painful defeat in his two biggest contests, Mitchell has been forced to contend with understandable suspicions that he is not world class or has seen better days. But, riding a six-fight winning run since linking back up with Sims, who coached him as a teenager, Mitchell rejects that speculation out of hand.
“You know in yourself when you’re finished,” he declared. “I ain’t stupid, I’m not deluded. Me brother [former pro Vinny], he goes and works now when he could be getting a nice, decent living out of boxing. But he doesn’t because he ain’t stupid, he ain’t deluded, he knows he ain’t gonna go nowhere so he goes back and gets a normal job. You’ve got to be realistic, we’re street kids, we’re not stupid.”
Mitchell reveals in the magazine article that he was once a “strong alcoholic” but has completely changed his ways now, adding substance to his confidence ahead of the Linares clash.
“My last glass of red wine was about nine weeks ago,” he revealed. “I went down a club I go to, had two glasses of wine and went home – that’s not like me and I’ve done it a few times now. I used to be a headache for the club-owners. But it’s just growing up.”