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:
“I prepared hard for this fight. I prepared to go a hard 10 rounds. God is good. I feel good. I’m 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 wasn’t 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 that’s a part of boxing. I was able to adjust.
“My trainer, Andre Hunter put together, a great game plan, a great camp. We had to alleviate Timur’s right hand. That was our main objective. When I watched the tape by myself, I went back to my trainer, he said, ‘What did you see?’ I said ‘He died out in the later rounds. He was open for the uppercut.’ And then we watched it together, he said, ‘He can’t get away from a right hand.’
“And 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 couldn’t get away from the right hand.”
“This was a big step for me. This is the level that I want to be on. I plan to stay on this level. I don’t think that I can’t be beat. I don’t think that I’m invincible at all. But I work hard. I’m humble and I’m 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 I’m just going to continue to work hard and try to reach my goals.”
ON WHETHER HE’S PREPARED TO DEAL WITH THE KLITSCHKOS:
“The Klitschkos, they don’t have the most exciting fighting style, but you have to respect them. They’re giants. They’re 6’6”, 6’7”, 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 lord’s willing, hopefully if I don’t have any setbacks in 2013, early 2013, I’ll be able to challenge them, and hopefully I can get the job done.
“I feel that I mix in with the heavyweights right now, but there’s a couple more fights I have to get before I’m ready to challenge the Klitschkos.”
ON WHEN HE WANTS TO FIGHT NEXT:
“Hopefully I can get in there in March. We’ll sit down with the team, with my manager, with Golden Boy and Al Haymon. Hopefully I’ll get back there in March. I would love to fight here [in Washington, D.C.], but at the same time I’ve 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. I’ve got to stay busy.”
ON IBRAGIMOV’S COMMENTS BEFOREHAND ON MITCHELL’S STRENGTH, BUT THIS NOT BEING A WEIGHTLIFTING CONTEST:
“I’m not a weightlifter. I’m a boxer. A lot of people think that because I come from football, and I’ve 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. It’s 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.
“I just believe God is bestowing his blessings on me. Not only do I believe I’m blessed with the athletic ability, the size, the strength, the speed, but I don’t take that for granted. I work extremely hard. I try to learn as much as I can. I’ve been sparring with Tony Thompson since I was six months into the boxing game. He’s one of the top heavyweights out there. He’s taught me a lot.
“I just feel that when I get in the ring with my opponents, I surprise them. They look at me and see that I’m 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. It’s nothing. It’s a part of boxing. You get hit. I’m a student of the game. I just try to improve each every fight, and I believe I’m doing it thus far in my career.”
ON FIGHTING AT HOME AND ON A MAJOR BROADCAST:
“It 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 it’s a business, and I understand that I’m on HBO because of what I’ve been doing. I have to stay grounded, stay humble, stay focused and continue to do what I’m doing so I can be on this level again.”
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 [email protected]