Home Boxing News Lightweight Battle of Britain: Burns vs Mitchell Preview, Quotes and Prediction

Lightweight Battle of Britain: Burns vs Mitchell Preview, Quotes and Prediction

Lightweight Battle of Britain

Scotland’s Ricky Burns
34-2 (9 KO’s), WBO Junior Lightweight Champion
vs
England’s Kevin Mitchell
33-1 (24 KO’s)

Preview

Scotland’s current WBO Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns defends his title against domestic rival Kevin Mitchell to determine the the best lightweight in the UK.  

The fight is scheduled to to take place at Glasgow’s SECC Arena on September the 22nd and will be screened live on BoxNation.

Both fighters have promised a “Battle of Britain” when they clash for the WBO Lightweight Championship of the World.

Ricky Burns will come into the fight full of confidence and is Scotland’s first two-weight world champion in nearly 20 years. He was last in action in March 2012, beating former world champion Paulus Moses comfortably on points to retain his title. 

Burns has been a revelation in the past two years: no-one gave him a chance in his first-ever world-title fight against Roman Martinez, and Burns had to peel himself off the canvas in round one before going on to win a points decision against the Puerto Rican. The Scotsman showed great courage and determination that night and made the world take notice.

Since the Martinez fight, Ricky has compiled five straight wins and become a two-weight world champion.  Andreas Evensen, Joseph Laryea, Nicky Cook, Michael Katsidis and Paulus Moses have all been beaten with relative ease, and now England’s Kevin Mitchell stands in the way of the Scotsman with mandatory challenger Adrian Broner expected to face the winner.

Mitchell goes into the fight a very hungry fighter looking to put aside his defeat to Australia’s Michael Katsidis and establish himself among the elite lightweight fighters of the world. He is coming off a strong win over domestic rival John Murray in July 2011, followed by a workmanlike unanimous decision over Felix Lora in February 2012. 

A very talented fighter with a good head on his shoulders, Mitchell proved in December 2009 that he could box and trade with hard-punching Breidis Prescott (21-1-0), who let’s not forget fought Amir Khan fifteen months previous to upset the odds and produce a first-round KO that sent shockwaves through the boxing world. 

Mitchell has also shown he has decent power by defeating undefeated domestic rival John Murray (31-0) in a clash for the vacant WBO intercontinental lightweight title. Kevin went on to win that night by a TKO in round eight, and also boats 24 KOs in 34 fights. 

Both fighters have fought the tough Katsidis, with Burns winning a points decision while Mitchell was bludgeoned to defeat via a third-round three TKO.  I don’t believe we can gauge the outcome of this fight based on the Katsidis fight alone – we have to take into account that both men fought a different Katsidis: Burns fought Katsidis 18 months after Mitchell and Katsidis was on the decline.

Pre-Fight Quotes

“For me it’s about testing myself against the best and proving how good I am.  Mitchell’s the next-best in Britain and I’m sure he’s going to give me the hardest fight of my career and that’s what I’m preparing for – a real battle,”  Ricky Burns, frankwarren.com.

“Once we’re in that ring and the bell goes, it’s going to be brutal – Ricky knows what he’s got in front of him and I’m going to be hitting him harder and faster than he’s ever been hit before. I’m in this business to win world titles, – I lost the first attempt against Michael Katsidis and I won’t be needing a third, this is it for me.” Kevin Mitchell, frankwarren.com.

Prediction

I don’t think this fight is as straightforward as most are predicting, I think it’s easy to make a case for both fighters to prevail as champion.

Being from Ricky’s hometown, it’s a hard decision to not back the Coatbridge fighter, but I have to go with my head over my heart and say Mitchell will be victorious. l hope Ricky proves me wrong again like he did in Glasgow when he beat Roman Martinez for his first world title.

Ricky Burns’ last few opponents have been mere punch bags at times, with not much lateral movement.  I can see Mitchell having lots of movement on the night to try and frustrate Burns into making mistakes, which he will then try to capitalise on.

It’s going to be difficult for Mitchell to break down Burns as he has a high guard and a fantastic jab he uses to great effect.  It may be a waiting game for Mitchell, and he will have to be very patient on the night.

I think Burns’ downfall is that he walks in straight lines and is very predictable – something I can see Mitchell trying to capitalise on with his movement and quick throwing combinations before getting out of there.

I believe Mitchell will win this fight if he can nullify Burns’ jab, and he is certainly capable of doing so. The jab is Burns’ primary weapon as he uses it to keep his distance from fighters and set up his shots. If Mitchell can take away Burns’ jab then Burns will be in big trouble.

It’s going to be very interesting on the night which style wins.  I think it will be a close fight going into the final rounds, where both fighters will open up and mistakes will be made by both before Mitchell prevails as champion via points decision.

The only problem I see with Mitchell is his focus and his heart – he has admitted in the past he hasn’t turned up to fights 100%, so I think in this fight he has a lot to prove to himself and will need to show a deal of heart to beat a well-drilled Burns.

If Mitchell can’t turn up 100% for a world-title fight then he should retire until he’s ready to come back.

Mitchell on points

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