AFTER a heroic effort against WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares in May, Kevin Mitchell returns to the O2 on Saturday to fight his way back to world level. He boxes Ismael Barroso for the WBA Interim title, the winner will be due a shot at new WBA champ, Anthony Crolla.

“I’m one of the biggest threats in the lightweight division,” Kevin Mitchell said. “I’ll get this one out the way. I have to be smart with this kid. Take him into the later part and try to get him out of there. Then you get Crolla, Crolla’s a very good fighter, he’s come on very well. To be fair he’s probably one of Britain’s most [improved] fighters and he’s a friend of mine.”

But Mitchell added, “I’ll beat Crolla but that makes a good war, a good fight, a good tear up. Then go on from there and fight Linares.”

However he needs to be careful against Barroso. “The first three or four rounds, five or six rounds, very dangerous,” Kevin said. “So I have to be smart with this kid. Keep tucked up, make him work, make him pay. I feel like I’m one of the best in the world.

“In the later rounds I go to work, that’s when I like going to work, that’s when I take them out.”

Mitchell has received some expert assistance from Luke Campbell, who also boxes on Saturday’s bill. Kevin expects the Olympic gold medallist to rule the division in due course. “The best out of the lot of them, I’d say, is Luke Campbell. I’ve been training with Luke, sparring with him, he’s a gentleman, a proper athlete, I work with him, we talk about things together. I do believe the next couple of years, he’s going to smash it,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been around a lot of fighters, he’s steely. All he needs is a few learning fights… I think he could do it now really, but next year or two he could take over. People say they want to see him mix in with better fighters, I think he’ll mix with better fighters and knock them out easy.”