Kevin Mitchell(39-2, 29KO’s) captured the WBC Silver lightweight title last Saturday with a performance that denoted his credentials as a fighter worthy of competing for world honours, as he systematically grounded Daniel Estrada(32-4, 24KO’s) in to the dust over eight rounds with a chilling display of accuracy, evasiveness and power.
The pair had comparable records going in to the fight at the O2 Arena in London but there was a vast disparity in ability once they engaged with one and other, with Mitchell dropping Estrada in the second and teeing-off on the Mexican’s face at will until the referee stepped between them when they were both still standing; a clean right uppercut the final telling blow. Mitchell talked Kugan Cassius of iFL TV through how he felt the fight had gone once they were in the relative calm of the dressing room afterwards.
“I felt good you know, I felt safe in there with my team; I felt very strong, secure. I feel like I’m maturing now as a fighter you know. As a young kid, turned professional at eighteen, been pro twelve years now. I feel like it’s all coming together; my life and maturity of an age, you can see it Innit.”
His was a display indicative of confidence. It was clear from very early on that Estrada was in for a tough evening as Mitchell edged towards him with his hands at chest height, offering smooth and evasive upper-body movement to bypass the jabs coming his way; the snake hypnotising the charmer. Mitchell was very accurate with his left hand and time and again he drilled in a very hurt looking hooking from the side in amongst the jabs and more sporadic right hands, all the while slipping, ducking and rolling. He appeared to be able to do as he pleased and conceded he possibly could have finished the fight sooner than he did.
“Perhaps so yeah but I didn’t wanna go over the top and basically do a mistake, I didn’t want a mistake to happen so I kept myself cool, I waited an extra round or two, got on my jab and basically made him work harder without doing as much work. There was a couple of times he went earlier, but I didn’t jump on him and lose my head because I ain’t stupid. I’m good at taking people out; I’m good at that. I did it professionally.”
Mitchell’s skill-set was as close to consummation as we are likely to see against a highly-rated opponent, and now that he is surely about to smash through the glass ceiling and fight for a world title again, does he have his eye on the winner of the upcoming match between Richard Abril and Derry Matthews for the WBA version of the lightweight title? The result now has ramifications within his own sphere, after all.
“Yeah, down the line yeah. I’m keeping my eye on the WBC first. Most definitely, good luck to Derry, you know I hope Derry smashes him to bits he’s a friend of mine from years. I know he’s in the same weight division but I’m not one of these kids that think ‘ah I wanna fight him, I wanna fight him.’ Derry’s doing well, I hope to God that he does the job, gets a good win in, he could be world champion you never know, it’s a hard fight. It’s a big win for him of he can get it, but it’s a fight, anyone can win, it’s a fight.”
With the WBC champion Jorge Linares(38-3, 25 KO’s) firmly within his sights Mitchell looks a formidable challenge based on his latest outing, and it sounds as if he’s looking to clean up the division afterwards. He signed off the interview with an obvious assurance that accompanied a fight in which he looked to have mastered his craft.
“That was my best performance I’ve ever done, ever.”