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Frank Warren Breaks Down Burns-Mitchell Grudge Bout

By Frank Warren

England and Scotland's sporting Auld rivalry has seen many football and rugby encounters over the years, but very few classic encounters in the boxing ring.

The past conflict between the two nations has contributed to the intense competition in sport whenever they have met, so it’s surprising that in the place where you see the fiercest action of all there hasn’t been much.

Scottish legend Benny Lynch fought Lancashire’s Jackie Brown in the mid 1930s and the great Walter McGowan had two terrific battles with Liverpool’s Alan Rudkin in the 60s.  While everyone knows of Ken Buchanan’s epic fight against Jim Watt, each of them didn’t have any memorable wars against their English counterparts at world championship level.

And more recently Scott Harrison beat Manchester’s Michael Brodie in a world title defence and Alex Arthur lost his world title to Nicky Cook, although Arthur had a thriller against Michael Gomez a few years earlier in Edinburgh.

But this week I announced a fight that I’m really excited about and it has the potential to become a modern day classic between the two best lightweights in Britain, Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell, with the world title on the line.

Burns, who hails from Coatbridge, holds the WBO World title and makes the second defence against Londoner Mitchell at the SECC in Glasgow on Saturday 22nd September in a real Battle of Britain.

Auld rivalry aside, it’s a throwback boxer versus puncher showdown in the mould of Michael Watson v Nigel Benn.

This is without a doubt the biggest England v Scotland encounter in the modern era to take place on Scottish soil and I’ve no doubt that it will sell-out and it will be an electrifying atmosphere on the night, with tickets going on sale on Monday.

The fight has been boiling-up over the last few years with the boxers calling each other out and the fans and media desperate to see it happen.  It’s a fight that I’ve been looking to make for a while and as I promote both men I’ve been waiting for the perfect time for it to happen and the time is now while they are both at the peak of their careers.

In my opinion Burns is the best fighter in the Britain at the moment.  His win over the tough Puerto Rican Roman Martinez to win the WBO World Super-Featherweight title in September 2010 woke everybody up to his talent. 

When he became Scotland’s first two weight world champion in nearly 20 years, stepping up a division to beat Australian warrior Michael Katsidis - the only man to have beaten Mitchell - it really proved that he is quality world champion and belongs with the best at the weight.

Outside of the ring he’s a really nice guy and the perfect role model for the sport, but inside he is one tough fighter who’s relentless all-action style has attracted a huge following to his fights.

The Tartan Army were out in full force for his homecoming fight in March when he faced a tough and awkward former WBA World Champion in Paulus Moses to grind out a pulsating points win to line up his fight against Mitchell.

Burn’s is a hero in Scotland but for some reason he hasn’t received the recognition he deserves for his achievements in England yet, but a win over the well known Mitchell could change that.

Dagenham Destroyer Mitchell is really up for the fight in the lion’s den though.

He came back from his sole career loss to Katsidis in May 2010 to beat previously unbeaten John Murray in July last year with a stunning performance.

Mitchell is know for his all-attacking hard-hitting style, but he boxed strategically to pick apart Murray with precise punching to stop him in the eighth round in a fight that was declared the Fight of the Year.

He also took the fearsome punching Colombian Breidis Prescott to school with a commanding display and Prescott was the man who knocked-out Amir Khan inside a round.

Burns v Mitchell will be televised live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) and I’ll be announcing Nathan Cleverly’s next WBO World Light-Heavyweight title defence which will kick off an exciting new season.  I can’t wait.

***

One of America’s most celebrated sports artists LeRoy Neiman passed away recently at 91.

Although he also captured U.S Presidents, jazz musicians and powerful animals in Africa, his powerful imagery of the boxing ring included the historic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fights. 

Like boxing historian Bert Sugar, who died earlier this year, was famous for his fedora hat and cigar, Neiman had a nineteenth-century “handlebar’ style mustache.

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 and also appeared in four Rocky movies.

***

The excellent docu-series Haye/Chisora: Beyond The Ropes has already got people talking ahead of the big fight on July 14 at West Ham United.

After the first series premiered this week some of the media suggested the fight was in crisis following an altercation between Chisora and his trainer Don Charles.

The pair have a heated but successful relationship and their spat was quickly forgotten and it was back down to business the next day to prepare for the grudge fight with Haye.

The fight is definitely still on with over 28,000 tickets sold so far.

Make sure you tune in this Wednesday to BoxNation at 7:30pm for the second part with more to be revealed.

***

Tyson Fury claimed he was held up at gunpoint by armed police and arrested for a bank robbery and murder.

The only case of mistaken identity is his opponent next week Vinny Maddalone.

For up to date boxing news and reviews visit www.frankwarren.com

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