Mighty Mitchell Smith intends to silence a few Internet trolls with a standout performance against Dennis Tubieron in the opening defence of his WBO Inter-Continental Super-Featherweight title at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Friday 24th July.
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The Filipino southpaw extended Josh Warrington to the final bell in a 12 rounder for the WBC International strap last April but Smith has designs on a far more clinical execution.
A former senior English ABA champion in his teens, the 22 year old from Harrow Weald has romped to a dozen straight wins in the paid code, establishing himself as one of the most exciting prospects in Europe at any weight. But it seems you can’t please everybody!
‘This fight on July 24th gives me an opportunity to make a big bang and prove I’m ready to compete at a higher level. My fitness is great, my weight’s spot on and I’ve been shining when sparring southpaws in the gym,” says the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ who has snapped up Southern Area, English, WBO European and WBO Inter-Continental belts, not to mention a top ten world ranking.
‘Tubieron should be a good test. He’s pretty slick. He made Warrington miss a lot but I expect to be naturally bigger and stronger. I’ll be looking to stalk him in a measured, professional way, let my shots go and be accurate with them.
‘Tubieron looks a bit flimsy, physically, and I can’t see him standing up to me. I’d feel I’d underachieved if I didn’t knock him out.’
‘I’ve had some stick on the net with some of previous opponent, but I’ve beaten three unbeaten fighters and I’ll be looking to do a good job on Tubieron to keep them quiet.”
Smith captured the belt he defends at Wembley by blitzing Chile’s Cristian Palma in five rounds at the same venue last May.
He recalls: ‘Going into the fight against my first Latin American, I had an opinion that, though he’d be really game, I expected Palma to be robotic, slow on his feet, as easy to hit as the heavy bag. But that wasn’t what he was like at all. He was very cagey and made things hard for me.
‘I made him wince from a body shot in the first round and after that he didn’t want to make a fight of it and it got a scrappy. But Jay (coach Jason Rowland) found the solution as always, told me to focus on a clean punch and he was spot on. Together we’re a winning formula.’
Despite the outstanding progress he has made since joining the profession in June 2012, the angel faced, mallet-fisted north Londoner has a frightening desire to develop further.
‘My variety is growing all the time and I’m always practising and experimenting with different combinations in the gym,’ he disclosed.
‘Despite the good reviews I receive, I swear the fans still haven’t seen what I’m really capable of; my two phased combinations. I’ll only be forced to use my full arsenal as I meet increasingly better opponents.
‘There’s not much I can’t do technically in the gym so now I’m looking to get my fitness ‘spot on’. My body is starting to mature and I’m developing muscle definition in places I’d not previously seen but you can’t rush it. A move to feather is still possible but my chest, back and calves are thicker than they’ve ever been.’
With 10 round wins against Scott Moises, Peter Cope and Zoltan Kovacs already secured for his CV, this huge ticket seller is now reviewing his future options for meaningful belts in both the 126 and 130lb divisions.
‘Boxing’s only a sport if you’re watching. To us fighters, it’s a business,’ he says.
‘No disrespect to Ryan Walsh (soon to challenge for the vacant British feather crown) but is that a money fight? He’s very plain and boring, brings nothing really. He’s not even undefeated after Lee Selby spanked him.
‘A fight with his brother Liam (the British and Commonwealth super-feather boss) interests me far more. Now he’s world class. There’d need to be more than the British title on the line for that one.
‘Myself and (European featherweight champion) Josh Warrington would be a great match which I’d snatch tomorrow. And I’d knock him out. He can only fight one way and doesn’t move his head. It’d be like fighting a punch bag. I’d hit far, far too hard for him with those little 8oz gloves on.’
But to force the fights he covets, ‘Mighty Mitch’ knows he must first sizzle on Saturday 24th.
‘My goals for the remainder of the year are to top a big bill –Wembley (SSE Arena ) would be lovely – and zone in on the top five in the world rankings. I’d love a world title eliminator by early next year at the latest,’ he concludes.
‘I also want to prove myself in a ‘tear up’ when a good quality opponent tries to bang back with me. I often have wars in sparring when talent goes out the window and it just comes down to who wants it most. I want to show the fans I have that in my locker.’