by David P. Greisman
Just a couple of hours after scoring the biggest win of his career by stopping Timur Ibragimov in the second round, heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell, 29 years old and now 24-0-1 with 18 knockouts, spoke to reporters about the victory.
ON THE FIGHT ITSELF:
ďI prepared hard for this fight. I prepared to go a hard 10 rounds. God is good. I feel good. Iím on cloud nine right now. I knew this was a big test. Timur, he was never stopped. I definitely wanted to be the first to stop him. At the same time, I wasnít going to go out there and get reckless and open myself up. I saw that he had a game plan. He caught me with a couple of shots. But thatís a part of boxing. I was able to adjust.
ďMy trainer, Andre Hunter put together, a great game plan, a great camp. We had to alleviate Timurís right hand. That was our main objective. When I watched the tape by myself, I went back to my trainer, he said, ĎWhat did you see?í I said ĎHe died out in the later rounds. He was open for the uppercut.í And then we watched it together, he said, ĎHe canít get away from a right hand.í
ďAnd as I was watching it with him, I saw the right hand open all day. So in training camp we worked on just finishing, definitely going to the body, keeping the pressure on, but finishing with the right hand, as you saw at the end of the fight. He couldnít get away from the right hand.Ē
ďThis was a big step for me. This is the level that I want to be on. I plan to stay on this level. I donít think that I canít be beat. I donít think that Iím invincible at all. But I work hard. Iím humble and Iím hungry. The Klitschkos, they stand alone in the heavyweight division, but I truly believe that right now I mix in well with any heavyweight out there. So Iím just going to continue to work hard and try to reach my goals.Ē
ON WHETHER HEíS PREPARED TO DEAL WITH THE KLITSCHKOS:
ďThe Klitschkos, they donít have the most exciting fighting style, but you have to respect them. Theyíre giants. Theyíre 6í6Ē, 6í7Ē, and they use their God-given talents. They use them well. I believe I have to get about three or four more fights, and then good lordís willing, hopefully if I donít have any setbacks in 2013, early 2013, Iíll be able to challenge them, and hopefully I can get the job done.
ďI feel that I mix in with the heavyweights right now, but thereís a couple more fights I have to get before Iím ready to challenge the Klitschkos.Ē
ON WHEN HE WANTS TO FIGHT NEXT:
ďHopefully I can get in there in March. Weíll sit down with the team, with my manager, with Golden Boy and Al Haymon. Hopefully Iíll get back there in March. I would love to fight here [in Washington, D.C.], but at the same time Iíve got to sit down with them and see what they come up with. Even as a champion, I would like to be an active champion, fighting at least three times a year. I like to fight. Iíve got to stay busy.Ē
ON IBRAGIMOVíS COMMENTS BEFOREHAND ON MITCHELLíS STRENGTH, BUT THIS NOT BEING A WEIGHTLIFTING CONTEST:
ďIím not a weightlifter. Iím a boxer. A lot of people think that because I come from football, and Iíve said this numerous times, I believe that everybody is blessed with a particular gift or particular talent, and I truly believe that athleticism is my talent. This is what God has blessed me with. Itís not a coincidence that I started boxing when I was 25 years old, had only 10 amateur fights, signed with Golden Boy and have picked up this craft this quickly.
ďI just believe God is bestowing his blessings on me. Not only do I believe Iím blessed with the athletic ability, the size, the strength, the speed, but I donít take that for granted. I work extremely hard. I try to learn as much as I can. Iíve been sparring with Tony Thompson since I was six months into the boxing game. Heís one of the top heavyweights out there. Heís taught me a lot.
ďI just feel that when I get in the ring with my opponents, I surprise them. They look at me and see that Iím strong, but they underestimate my athletic ability and my speed and my boxing savvy-ness. If you look at this fight, he came out, he was trying to settle some things, and I had to adjust a little bit. He caught me with the jab. Itís nothing. Itís a part of boxing. You get hit. Iím a student of the game. I just try to improve each every fight, and I believe Iím doing it thus far in my career.Ē
ON FIGHTING AT HOME AND ON A MAJOR BROADCAST:
ďIt felt good. It sent chills through my body. I knew it was a big moment for me in my career, fighting on HBO, fighting at home, having the home crowd. But I understand that itís a business, and I understand that Iím on HBO because of what Iíve been doing. I have to stay grounded, stay humble, stay focused and continue to do what Iím doing so I can be on this level again.Ē
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org