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Kevin Mitchell beats Breidis Prescott in WBO eliminator

By Ben Dirs

Kevin Mitchell (right) fighting Breidis Prescott
Mitchell, right, is now unbeaten in 30 contests

Dagenham's Kevin Mitchell oozed class in outpointing Colombian Breidis Prescott in an eliminator for the WBO lightweight crown in Newcastle.

Prescott, who knocked out Amir Khan in 54 seconds last September, was seen as a big risk for Mitchell.

But Mitchell refused to be drawn into a war, instead relying on his superior skills to frustrate his opponent.

The 25-year-old won the fight by wide margins on all three judges' scorecards, 119-110, 118-111, 117-111.

Mitchell, a former British and Commonwealth super-featherweight champion, was unbeaten in 29 fights going into the contest, but questions remained about his defence, and about the wisdom of him fighting the only man to beat Khan.

However, Mitchell, under the tutelage of venerable trainer Jimmy Tibbs, appears to have totally overhauled his style, and he stayed patient, picked his shots and at times made Prescott look amateurish with his movement.

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The current WBO title-holder at lightweight is Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, although he is rumoured to be lined up for a fight against Manchester's Ricky Hatton in 2010 and may give up his belt.

That being the case, Mitchell, who claimed the fringe WBO intercontinental lightweight crown on the undercard of Amir Khan-Dmitriy Salita at the Metro Radio Arena, could instead fight dangerous Australian Michael Katsidis, the WBO's 'interim' champion.

And Mitchell's victory will undoubtedly raise the prospect of a potential domestic super-fight between Mitchell and Khan somewhere down the line.

Other than a stiff early jab from Prescott, the opening round was a cagey affair, with Mitchell, understandably cautious, happy to keep his distance.

Mitchell, who was giving away four inches in height, landed with a couple of solid left hooks in the second round, but for the most part was happy to stay on the back foot as Prescott began to show signs of frustration.

Prescott hurt Mitchell with a clubbing left hook to the body in the third, although referee Dave Parris did the home fighter a favour when he adjudged the Colombian had deliberately turned his opponent.

Mitchell began to find his range in the fourth, stepping in with his punches and landing with a couple of snappy left hooks, while making Prescott miss repeatedly.

A clash of heads opened up a cut under Prescott's left eye in the fifth, while Mitchell, visibly growing in confidence, continued to land with his well-grooved left hook.

Mitchell, who has never been down, soaked up a big left hand from Prescott on the bell, and Prescott was reduced to throwing single right hands in the sixth, which Mitchell was easily able to evade.

Mitchell landed flush with two more meaty left hooks in the seventh, and while the eighth was a more even affair, it was Mitchell who probably stole it with an eye-catching combination on the bell.

Prescott was blowing hard by the ninth as Mitchell continued to use his lateral movement to great effect, and by the 10th it was clear that Prescott was in need of a knockout.

But Mitchell stayed out of harm's way down the stretch, avoiding Prescott's increasingly desperate lunges and putting the finishing touches to a near-perfect strategic display.

On the same bill, Greenock's John Simpson retained his Commonwealth featherweight crown with a seventh-round defeat of Stevie Bell.

Simpson, 26, was defending the title he won from Paul Truscott in January, while for Bell the contest represented a considerable step up in class.

And that gap proved too big to bridge as Simpson out-boxed the 34-year-old challenger, opening a cut near the left eye and prompting Bell's corner to pull him out two minutes into the seventh round.

In Ludwigsburg, Germany, Ola Afolabi - who was born in London to Nigerian parents but learnt his trade in the United States - was outpointed by WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck.



see also
Gavin forced to work hard for win
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Mitchell set for world title shot
16 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Tough Mitchell wins British title
04 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Mitchell Britain's hottest prospect
22 May 04 |  Boxing
Schedule/results 2009
28 Dec 09 |  Results & Schedule


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