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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 17:26 UK

Mitchell set for world title shot

By Nabil Hassan

Kevin Mitchell
Mitchell has not fought since June 2008

Britain's Kevin Mitchell is in line for a shot at WBO super-featherweight champion Roman Martinez in July.

Mitchell, who has been out of the ring injured since June last year, makes his long-awaited return on 22 May at York Hall in London.

And the unbeaten Dagenham fighter then hopes to seal a deal with Puerto Rico's Martinez to fight at London's O2 Arena.

"I'm a stepping stone away from my own big fight, we hope to announce it in the next week," he told BBC Sport.

Martinez took the WBO title by beating Mitchell's good friend Nicky Cook on the undercard of Amir Khan's clash with Marco Antonio Barrera in March.

Cook was knocked out in four rounds but Mitchell, 24, believes he is the man to avenge that defeat and end Martinez's unbeaten record.

606: DEBATE

"That fight is not far off happening, it's the sort of fight I want and the sort of fight I know I can win, I will beat that Roman Martinez when it happens," said Mitchell, who is also unbeaten, with 27 victories so far, including 20 knockouts.

"Frank [Warren, Mitchell's promoter] is sorting it all out now and we are hoping to make the fight happen in July. I want it to be at the O2 Arena. I know I could fill it.

"It wasn't nice to see Nicky get hurt and we were all expecting him to coast the fight and win it easily. I think the first three rounds he was coasting and he got so confident that he didn't expect the punch to come. But that's boxing."

I've missed the buzz of fighting. You step out and 20,000 are screaming for you. It's unlike anything else

Kevin Mitchell

After a breakthrough year in 2008 in which Mitchell took the British title from Carl Johanneson in front of 20,000 people on the undercard of David Haye's world cruiserweight title fight with Enzo Maccarinelli, big fights were expected follow.

But after a decent performance in defending his WBO Intercontinental belt in America against Walter Estrada soon after, Mitchell made the tough decision to have hand surgery - a decision he now knows was the right one.

"I snapped a tendon in my left hand after my fourth pro fight (in 2004) but I'd just been putting off getting anything done," he said.

"I'd just have injections in the hand to numb the pain but after a while they stopped working. So I had to get this operation done now.

"I had to have the tendon sewn back onto the knuckle. It didn't hurt having the operation as I was asleep but the hardest thing was putting my hand back into a fist.

"I was obviously apprehensive punching again, but I'm banging harder than ever."

Mitchell returns to the ring in May against an as yet unnamed opponent. The fight will be on the undercard of Kell Brook's British welterweight title fight with Young Mutley.

"It's been hard, I haven't fought for nearly 10 months and for all that time you are out of the ring you are not getting paid," he said.

"But I'm a pretty level headed person so I've just kept my head down, worked hard in training and am ready for bigger and better things this year.

"I've missed the buzz of fighting. You step out and 20,000 are screaming for you. It's unlike anything else.

"I'm hoping to get a few rounds under my belt on 22 May before the big one in July."



see also
Cook loses WBO title to Martinez
14 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Mitchell to make American debut
13 May 08 |  Boxing
Mitchell targets European crown
11 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Tough Mitchell wins British title
04 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Mitchell Britain's hottest prospect
22 May 04 |  Boxing


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