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Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Sunday, 6 December 2009

Amir Khan's phone call inspires Kevin Mitchell victory

By Nabil Hassan
BBC Sport in Newcastle

Jimmy Tibbs and Kevin Mitchell
Mitchell receives words of wisdom from veteran trainer Jimmy Tibbs

Kevin Mitchell has revealed how a phone call from close friend Amir Khan helped him defeat Breidis Prescott in Newcastle on Saturday.

Mitchell earned a unanimous points victory with a classy performance in Saturday's WBO lightweight eliminator.

"Amir rang me on Friday, we had a good conversation and he told me what I needed to do," Mitchell told BBC Sport.

Khan, who topped the bill by defending his WBA light-welterweight belt, lost to Prescott inside 60 seconds in 2008.

That defeat remains the sole blemish on Khan's record as a professional, but he has recovered to beat Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera and claim a first world title.

And Mitchell revealed that he was able to learn from the mistakes his stable-mate made in losing to Prescott in Manchester 15 months ago.

"He told me how to approach the fight and the threat Prescott poses. He knows he made mistakes against Prescott and he didn't want me to make the same ones," he said.

"I'm good friends with him and we get on well but even so it was nice of him and his advice helped a lot."

Mitchell produced perhaps the best performance of his career, showing great discipline, skill and intelligence to outbox the dangerous Colombian and extend his perfect record to 30 victories.

Prescott had only been beaten once in his career but Mitchell boxed the perfect fight, earning the vote of the judges on all three scorecards, to earn victory.

Kevin Mitchell
The Briton had too much for his Colombian opponent

"I knew he was a big hitter, he demolished Khan in one round but I stuck to the game plan," said Mitchell.

"I made him look simple and I hurt him more than he hurt me. I wanted a war but I knew my corner would have gone mad if I did that.

"It's my style to trade and had I been a 20-year-old boy maybe I would have done. But I'm 25 and I'm maturing.

"It's the best I've ever boxed, I made him miss a lot."

Promoter Frank Warren echoed Mitchell's thoughts, telling BBC Sport: "He went in there and broke his heart.

"Kevin gave him a boxing lesson, he used his brain and showed he has another dimension. We've always said that when he lets his head and not his heart do the talking he can be a great boxer and we saw that.

"You always worry with Kevin because you know he wants to stand and trade but he showed great composure.

"From here we will hopefully go on and secure a world title fight for him next year and Britain can have another world champion."

Mitchell is now the WBO's number one contender and could be set to fight Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, who is the belt's super-champion. But if Marquez is forced to relinquish his titles then Mitchell could face Australian Michael Katsidis, the interim champion.

606: DEBATE
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There is also talk that the 25-year-old could fight Khan down the line, something Warren refused to rule out.

"Kevin is in the WBO's number one spot and that's important for him," said Warren.

"But in terms of Amir we'll sit down and talk about it and see what happens. But these are exciting times for British boxing. The possibility of Kevin and Amir fighting is taking us back to the days of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank. British boxing is now on a fantastic high."

Khan was open to the idea of fighting Mitchell, a fight that would most likely happen after the Dagenham boxer fought for the lightweight world title.

The 22-year-old from Bolton defeated Ukrainian-born American Dmitriy Salita in 76 seconds and likes the idea of an all-British clash with West Ham's Upton Park already being talked about as a venue.

"[Beating Prescott has] made him a superstar overnight and he's going to go on to bigger and better things," Khan told BBC Sport.

"I've seen Prescott after the fight and you can see from his face that he's taken a battering - he's got him back for me.

"We are both up-and-coming fighters and it might happen. Kevin's got his dreams to achieve and I've got my dreams, but sometimes friends have to fight each other. That's part of boxing."



see also
Classy Mitchell sees off Prescott
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Confident Khan targets US success
06 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Ruthless Khan demolishes Salita
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Gavin forced to work hard for win
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Khan knocked out in first round
06 Sep 08 |  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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