Harrow Weald’s unbeaten Mitchell Smith believes that reducing his frame is going to significantly increase his chances of crashing the major title scene in 2015. The 22 year old ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ copped rave reviews racing to 10-0 and a world rating with the WBO in the 130lb super-featherweight class.
“Overall, 2014 was a good year for me,” reflects the Jason Rowland trained starlet who kick starts his 2015 campaign with a six rounder at the now sold-out York Hall, Bethnal Green this Friday, headlined by Ovill McKenzie’s British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight title defense against Matty Askin.
‘Though I only had three fights because of a strained stomach muscle and a knee operation, I boxed very sensibly in all three and won the English and WBO European titles plus earned a world ranking. In those title fights against Peter Cope and Zoltan Kovacs, I won all 20 rounds on at least one judges’ card. That proved the step up in class definitely didn’t faze me.”
A senior ABA champion at featherweight in 2011, mighty Mitch intends returning down to 9st ahead of his title onslaught later in the year.
He explains: ‘For the Kovacs fight in late November, I’d had a proper eight week camp and lived clean. The evening before, I weighed just 9.2 without drying out or cutting water. My body is still finding its best weight. If I can do feather, why not? Mentally, I know it’s not a problem.
‘Look, I’m not fazed by any of the super-featherweights in Britain but I’m only 5ft 4 ½ tall. Guys like Liam Walsh and Gary Sykes are inches taller and thicker. I’m just giving myself the option to win belts at two weights. It’s all about what opportunities Richard (Clark, manager), Frank (Warren, promoter) and Jay can organize for me.’
Confident to the point of being cocksure, young Smith holds no fear of jumping into a featherweight furnace presently inhabited by domestic talents like Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
‘Selby’s clearly the best in Britain; a very talented fighter and once I get a title at feather Josh Warrington is certainly a name I’d be interested in.’
Such edifying fare is probably still a year away. More pressing would be a British title crack at the winner of the pending clash between Cromer’s Ryan Walsh and Hull’s Samir Mouneimne.
‘Ryan’s a decent fighter and I’d expect him to beat Samir who is quite open,’ says Mitchell.
‘Frank’s promoting it so hopefully me against the winner could be made easily and quickly. I’d be confident. I sparred all three Walsh brothers when I was just 18, pre-pro, and felt what Ryan had then. I’ve come on a lot more since, than he has.’
Prior to that, the ‘Assassin’ intends to remind East End fans of his rich potential by delivering a sizzling display this Friday night.
‘It’s only a six rounder and I’ll be weighing just over the super-feather limit. I put a bit of weight on over Christmas when I was on crutches due to my knee op and I’ve only had six weeks to shift it.
‘But prep’s gone well. I’ve been sparring my brother Jed, a light-welter, plus Adam Dingsdale and Johnny Garton, a couple of welters from Al Smith’s gym. I’ve also been over to Monaco to do some work with Adam Booth’s bantamweight Ryan Burnett. He’s very sharp and nippy. If you can land on him, you can land on anybody.
‘Come Friday, I’m just looking for a sensible performance back under the lights. It’d be lovely to get a knockout but I’ve prepared for six good rounds.
‘After that, we’ll just see what opens up. With a family to support, I need to earn a wage but I don’t really want to go back to English title level.
‘Ideally I’ll pick up the British this summer and another International title before the year is through. I’m confident Frank and my manager can deliver that. They know I’m an exciting fighter who lights up arenas!’