By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
At long last the highly anticipated showdown between Dagenhamís ĎMightyí Kevin Mitchell and Manchesterís John Murray will finally take place this weekend, albeit in Liverpool and not the ExCel in London which was to originally host this career defining fight.
As I am sure most of you are aware the fight was supposed to have taken place this past Saturday, but due to Kevin being unwell for a few days recently the bout was hastily rescheduled and added to the Ricky Burns versus Nicky Cook WBO World Title fight card.
Since my return from America I have spent quite a bit of time with Kevin while he has been training at the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town. I was there throughout his training camp for the ill fated Katsidis fight and of course Iíve been there for Kevinís† camp for the John Murray bout.
Even though the training and sparring sessions have all been behind closed doors, thanks to Kevinís coaches Jimmy and Mark Tibbs trusting me I have been lucky enough to have been at the TRAD TKO for every single session.
I donít want to give too much away about just how well Kevinís training has gone, but will just say Iím not normally a betting man but Iím seriously thinking of popping down to Paddy Powers and putting a few bob on our Kev.
Anyway before I do say too much about the camp, and get myself in trouble with Jimmy and Mark or gym owner Johnny Eames, it was after his final sparring session that Kevin and I sat down to chat about this weekendís fight.
Rio - Your fight with John Murray has been put back to this weekend, why was that and how has that affected you and your preparation?
Kevin - I had a virus and had to be out of the gym for a couple of days, I didnít want to make any mistakes like I did last time so spoke with Frank (Warren) as I wanted to get the virus out of the way.
A couple of days later the virus was gone and I felt good enough to get back in the gym.
I was straight back in training and sparring, I walked through twelve rounds easy and felt strong and sharp so the fight was back on again for a week later, but in Liverpool.
I feel bad for the other kids that were on the show, especially Billy Joe (Saunders) as heíd been here training alongside me. Same with Billy Morgan and Eddie Hussein, these kids have been down here training every day now theyíre stuck without a fight. Iím Gutted for them that they didnít get to be on the show.
Iím also gutted for the fans that Iím not fighting in London now. Theyíre a great crowd and Iím sure some will come up to Liverpool.
Rio - Itís now an away fight, and not that far from John Murrayís home, does that make any difference to you?
Kevin - Iíve been everywhere, Iíve been to Italy, Russia, Iíve been to America. Iíve been all over the world boxing so Liverpoolís not going to be a problem for me.
I know itís an away fight now but Iíve been up there a few times and know a lot of people up there, the Smith brothers and all the people I met when was at the Murray camp.
Iíve got a lot of good friends up there and† know that when I step out on the stage thereíll be plenty of people there supporting me.
Rio - This is one of the few genuine 50/50 fights to take place this year - the winner of it is likely to be the one that wants it most - so just how much does Kevin Mitchell want it?
Kevin - If Iíd won the last fight, like I should have done, this fight would have been looked at as a mismatch and shouldnít be happening as Kevinís beaten Katsidis up, but I got beat and everyoneís saying itís a 50/50 fight.
Look at Murray and his last fight. In my eyes itís more like a 90/10 fight in my favour.
Heís a good fighter, heís good at what he does domestically. Heís fought names, but not at the top of their game, theyíve all been past it. You know like John Thaxton. Thaxton was a brilliant fighter in his day but† not when John Murray fought him.
Heís never been in with a top class fighter, I took Carl Johanneson when he was at his best and beat him, it was a hard fight and he got well beaten up by me, and I was just a young kid.
Iím now a twenty six year old man and this is a big fight for me. Iíve been training for this now for over two months and Iím not losing this fight.
Rio - You just mentioned training, to me you have looked totally different in camp, to what you did in camp for the Katsidis fight, you look sharper and more focused, everything. But how do you think itís been going?
Kevin - Well you have been here for both camps to be fair. Youíve seen me train at both camps.
For the Katsidis camp I was useless in here, I was crap, turn up with no head on my shoulders as if I was in a dream land, I was crap. This camp Iím flying, everyone can see it. Iím sparring brilliant against them, everythingís gone brilliant.
These camps arenít easy, theyíre hard, but I enjoy them. Iím just looking forward to getting in there and smash him to bits.
Rio - Thatís really good to hear, so you feel ready for the showdown with John Murray this weekend.
Kevin - Yeah perfectly, the last fight I wasnít relaxed, I was nervous. When youíre prepared for something, youíve got a job to do, youíve got to be prepared youíve not got to worry that something will go wrong.
When you are fully prepared, like I was for the Prescott fight you know that he has got no way out of that ring before the twelve rounds are done, unless I knock him out.
I will tell him (John Murray) the same thing itís a twelve round fight and the only way youíll get out early is when I knock you out.
Thereís only two ways heíll fight this fight, come out and stick it on me and get beat up or come out and try and lure me into a fight, by boxing and trying to counter punch me. Personally I think heíll come out and box for two or three rounds and try and counter me which suits me as heís going to get beat up and knocked out, heíll be smashed to bits.
I had three rounds in the Katsidis fight before he took me out, for the first two rounds I played with him, if you see his face after, his was battered mine wasnít† and I didnít get hold of him really so you can imagine what I am going to do in twelve hard rounds to John Murray when Iím prepared.
Rio - So the Kevin Mitchell weíll see on Saturday will be more like the one from the Prescott fight?
Kevin - Most certainly Iím just going to box for the whole fight. Youíre going to see one hundred percent boxing, boxing and boxing. Lots of switching, mix and match it, box and fight, fight and box and some countering. Youíll see a world class performance from me on the 16th July.
Rio - For the winner of this fight it looks like it will lead to a full World title shot.† Does that add any additional pressure?
Kevin - No, not at all, I really want that World title shot. Iím going to win this and get that title shot, I canít wait.
Rio - Not that long ago it was said that the winner on Saturday will face Ricky Burns for the title, is that still the case?
Kevin - Well I think that was something to hype it up a bit, Ricky fights at Super Featherweight. Maybe Iím wrong I donít know, when I win this fight maybe heíll step up I donít know.
Weíve done a few rounds sparring here at the TRAD TKO Gym, heís tough and heís fit. Good spars, the first was a good even spar, the second spar was a bit tight, it was a good hard twelve rounds, which goes to show how fit he was.
Heís a brilliant talent, Iím a big fan of Ricky Burns, heís done it the hard way and come out on top.
Rio - OK, so when you win this fight who do you think the opponent is likely to be?
Kevin - Brandon Rios and Frank (Warren) did say another name but I canít remember who it was. Iím not fussed Iím happy and grafting hard.
Iím going to win this fight and then beat Brandon Rios or whoever for the title thatís for sure.
Rio - Just want to go off subject for my last question and ask what were your thoughts on the Klitschko-Haye fight?
Kevin - I didnít think David seemed right at all, he strolled a bit. He was outsized, I donít think he was outclassed, it was a size matter.
Iíd like to have seen Dave go in there and have a punch up rather than look for the knockout. Dave lost on points so thatís the way it is on the way he done things.
Youíve got to respect the guy he went in there and with a World Class Heavyweight and stayed the twelve rounds.
Iíd like to see him come back, drop down a weight. I sent him a message last week and said if ever he wants to call me and have a chat or get away from all the crap. I know what itís like to get beat when everyone is expecting you to win.†
I really do hope that he comes back from this as heís a world class fighter.
Rio - Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me yet again and good luck on Saturday.
Kevin - My pleasure as always.
Kevin Mitchell versus John Murray, for the WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title will feature on Ricky Burnsí defense of his WBO World Super Feathweight crown against Nicky Cook at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday 16th July 2011.
Tickets, priced at £50, £80 and £100, are available on 0844 8000 400 or www.echoarena.com
Tags: John Murray , Kevin Mitchell , Murray vs Mitchell , Murray-Mitchell