Boxing


Mitchell vs Katsidis: Earl Warns Kevin Mitchell

Graham Earl has warned Kevin Mitchell that he faces the toughest night of his life against Michael Katsidis on Saturday. But the former WBU, Commonwealth and British lightweight champion says Mitchell has a chance to go one better than him and beat Katsidis and lift the Interim WBO World Lightweight title. Earl, 31, fought the Aussie at Wembley Arena three years ago, climbing off the floor to badly hurt his opponent before retiring at the end of the fifth in a fight which remains one of the most thrilling ever witnessed in a British ring..

And he admits that Katsidis is the hardest hitter he has faced in a 30-fight career. He also knows Mitchell well, and the pair shared a trainer at one point and have sparred together before. "Kevin will never have been in with as big a puncher," said Earl. "The two hardest fights of my career were against Yuri Romanov and Katsidis.

"Romanov was heavy-handed but Katsidis was something else. When he hit me, the next thing I knew I was picking myself off the floor from a knockdown.

"If Kevin is going to win, then he's got use his boxing skills, something that I didn't do but I should have.

"A week before the fight I decided to go in there and have a tear up against him, and looking back, that was the wrong decision.

"After three or four rounds I started boxing again and I felt I was the better boxer out of the two of us. The snap had gone from his punches, but I'd taken too much punishment and got pulled out.

"I can't see the fight on Saturday going the distance because someone is going to win this fight by stoppage.

"Both men have got a great chance. Either Katsidis will be too strong, or Kevin out-boxes him from the outside and the referee rescues him on a cut or through an accumulation of punches.



"Everyone keeps saying that Katsidis has had too many hard fights, but I think he might have at least one more big performance left in him. We'll know after the first couple if he's still got anything left in the tank.

"Kevin's a mate and I'm still in touch with Michael, so ideally I'd sit on the fence and not make a prediction.

"When Kevin began as a professional I sparred with him and I would give him a few tips. He's come on so much that he'd now be giving me tips, and he's got a great team around him who will have been working on his weaknesses.

"It's a very tough one to pick, but I'm worried that this fight might have come a little bit too soon for Kevin because it is a step up in class for him. But whatever happens this will be the most exciting fight over here in ages, and I will be as close to ringside as I possibly can."

Kevin Mitchell v Michael Katsidis is live on Sky Sports HD1 from 8pm on Saturday 15 May.



'Hammer Time' is headlined by Kevin Mitchell's challenge for the WBO Interim World Lightweight Championship against Michael Katsidis. A quality packed undercard includes the British Heavyweight Championship between Danny Williams and Derek Chisora; Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale challenges for the first title in his career - the WBA International Super-Middleweight Championship; and Britain's hottest young prospects Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders, Ricky Burns, Matthew Hall, Liam, Michael and Ryan Walsh, Vinny Mitchell, George Michael Carmen, Freddie Turner and Craig Evans.


Cordon And DeFoe Back Mitchell To Win

Kevin Mitchell got more celebrity backing for his massive clash with Michael Katsidis on Saturday when actor James Corden and footballer Jermain Defoe tipped him for victory today.

Gavin and Stacey star Corden simply said "knock him out Kev" ahead of Mitchell's challenge for the Interim WBO World Lightweight title at West Ham's Upton Park on May 15.

And he saw first hand Mitchell's punching power after dropping in on a work out the East Ender held at the Peacock Gym in Canning Town.

"I'll give Kevin one of my special motivational talks before the fight if he wants one, but looking at him today, I don't think he'll need it," said Corden.

"I don't think his corner will have to do much more than show him where the ring is.

"Unfortunately I can't be there on Saturday because of work committments, but I'll be cheering Kevin on."

Spurs and England striker Defoe was impressed by the volume of punches Mitchell threw.

The pair are just two of many celebrities to have thrown their weight behind Mitchell, with Ray Winstone, Stacey Solomon, Joe Cole and a host of West Ham stars past and present backing him for victory.

Mitchell, 25, will spend this week relaxing before the biggest fight of his life, which is heading towards a sell out.

And he looked cool, calm and collected as he was put through his paces by trainer Jimmy Tibbs in an hour-long session before the cameras.

"I feel great, but I just want Saturday to come as quickly as possible," said Mitchell. "Hopefully people can tell by looking at me how hard I am now punching as a lightweight.

"It's my ideal division and I feel so much stronger at the weight.

"A few people have compared Katsidis with Carl Johanneson and written me off because I struggled a bit in that fight.

"But I starved myself for a week to make super-featherweight and I spent the day of the weigh-in trying to lose pounds in a sauna.

"I know four or five pounds doesn't sound a lot, but when it comes to the difference between super-featherweight and lightweight, it's a world away.

"I'm into Saturday's fight a fresh and hungry fighter and Katsidis is going to be in big trouble."

'Hammer Time' is headlined by Kevin Mitchell's challenge for the WBO Interim World Lightweight Championship against Michael Katsidis. A quality packed undercard includes the British Heavyweight Championship between Danny Williams and Derek Chisora; Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale challenges for the first title in his career - the WBA International Super-Middleweight Championship; and Britain's hottest young prospects Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders, Ricky Burns, Matthew Hall, Liam, Michael and Ryan Walsh, Vinny Mitchell, George Michael Carmen, Freddie Turner and Craig Evans.


Warren: Mitchell Gets My Vote

With the country at the polls promoter Frank Warren today revealed who gets his vote - the man he says is a world-champion-in-waiting, Kevin Mitchell. And Mitchell promised to deliver a knockout blow to Michael Katsidis' hopes of a long reign in office when the pair meet for the Interim WBO World Lightweight title on May 15 at West Ham United's Boleyn Ground at Upton Park, live on Sky Sports HD1.

The unbeaten Londoner came face-to-face with Australian destroyer Katsidis for the first time today for a press conference at West Ham.

"He's a proper warrior and a real gentleman too," said Mitchell. "But he's had some tough fights in his time and you can see the scar tissue on his face.

"I can bust him up and win this fight.

"I've had some tough years, but this is my chance to make a name for myself and secure a future for both me and my family.

"People go on about hungry fighters, but I am a starving fighter. I want this more than anything."

Warren added: "Kevin definitely gets my vote and if he lets his head rule his heart then he can win this one on a landslide.

"Katsidis is no mug and he's coming here to win. But Kevin showed against Breidis Prescott what a good boxing brain he has got.

"He's a real character, and when fans get to know him more over the next few years they are going to love him. He's a cheeky cockney, but he's not a gimmick.

"Believe me, this kid can really fight and you are going to see that on May 15.

"The fight has sold well and I don't think anyone is going to go home disappointed.

"And if Kevin wins there are some massive fights out there for him. We are still waiting to hear from the WBO whether or not Juan Manuel Marquez is vacating.

"If he isn't, then he has to fight Kevin pretty sharpish. If he is, then Kevin will fight the next in line if he beats Katsidis."

But the big punching Aussie says Mitchell won't win.

"I've had a tough training camp in Thailand and I feel great," he said. "We like it out there because it is spartan living and the guys come at you hard, just like it's going to be in this fight.

"I'm not going to give too much away, but I'm very confident that I will win.

"I know what it's like to be in the trenches with six rounds gone and six rounds to go and blood on my face, and that experience will be to my advantag."

Kevin Mitchell v Michael Katsidis is live on Sky Sports HD1 from 8pm on Saturday 15 May.

'Hammer Time' is headlined by Kevin Mitchell's challenge for the WBO Interim World Lightweight Championship against Michael Katsidis. A quality packed undercard includes the British Heavyweight Championship between Danny Williams and Derek Chisora; Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale challenges for the first title in his career - the WBA International Super-Middleweight Championship; and Britain's hottest young prospects Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders, Ricky Burns, Matthew Hall, Liam, Michael and Ryan Walsh, Vinny Mitchell, George Michael Carmen, Freddie Turner and Craig Evans.

Tickets for 'Hammer Time', priced at 30, 40, 50, 80, 150, 200 & 250, are available from:

West Ham Ticket Hotline: 0871 222 2700*
Website: www.whufc.com

See Tickets Ticket Hotline: 0871 2200 260*
Website: www.seetickets.com

Ticketmaster: 0844 847 2500*
Website: www.ticketmaster.co.uk

*Subject to booking fee.

Article posted on 11.05.2010



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