Home Boxing News Upton Park dream comes alive

Upton Park dream comes alive

Kevin Mitchell is set to fight Aussie Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim lightweight title on 15 May, at Premiership club West Ham United’s Upton Park ground.

However, Dagenham fighter Mitchell, 25, is likely to end up fighting for the full WBO crown, with current champion Juan Manuel Marquez expected to vacate his title.

“I grew up supporting West Ham and I still can’t believe I’m going to be fighting there,” said Kevin.

“The fans in the East End are very special people, and to get the opportunity to fight in front of them is a dream come true,” added Mitchell, who is unbeaten in 31 pro bouts.

“Boxing and football are a way of life around here, and I think you are going to see an amazing event on 15 May with everyone turning out to see it.”

Warren added: “There is a long history of boxing in the East End stretching back to the days of [former welterweight world champion] Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis. But Kevin has got the chance to do what none of the great East End fighters did, and that’s fight for a world title at Upton Park. The response from all over London has been fantastic. We’ve waited a long time for a London fighter who can fill stadiums, and Kevin can be that man.”

The hard-hitting Katsidis is well known to British fans after his victorious five-round slug-fest against Luton’s Graham Earl at Wembley Arena in February 2007.

Mitchell knocked out Ignacio Mendoza at Wembley in February to set up the bout, having previously beaten Colombian Breidis Prescott, who in turn had knocked out Khan inside a round.

And Mitchell added, “Katsidis is a great fighter but… he better bring a good cutsman because I’m planning on busting him up real bad. It will be a proper tear-up on the night, then we’ll have a good old knees-up afterwards.”

Katsidis, who was in London last week said, “Your promoter [Warren] says you’ve got a secret weapon – is it your mouth? If you couldn’t knock out Prescott how are you going to knock out me? You can keep on talking but I promise I’ll be there on the night.”

Katsidis was narrowly defeated by former world champions Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz in 2008 but recovered well to beat former two-weight world champion Jesus Chavez last April, and claim the WBO interim belt from Vicente Escobedo last September.

Mitchell, a former British and Commonwealth super-featherweight champion, spent almost a year out of the ring between 2008 and 2009 with a hand injury but looked a much-improved fighter on his return.

Prior to his second-round knockout of Mendoza, he outpointed Prescott in December and the classy nature of the victory suggested he was ready to step up to bigger things.