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It’s all change for Mitchell as he heads off for Liverpool showdown

PUBLISHED: 15:04 07 July 2011

Nicky Cook (left) meets up with opponent John Murray at their recent press conference

Nicky Cook (left) meets up with opponent John Murray at their recent press conference

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kevin Mitchell explained why his showdown duel with John Murray, scheduled for this Saturday at the ExCeL Arena in Newham’s Docklands, has been moved to July 16 in Liverpool.

Mitchell, trained by father and son duo Jimmy and Mark Tibbs at Canning Town’s TKO Gym, says his preparations were interrupted by a viral infection and it was clear that he would not recapture his full fitness in time to box this weekend.

He informed promoter Frank Warren who quickly re-scheduled the clash for the Liverpool Echo Arena card a week later.

“I want to face Murray when I’m fully fight fit so there are no excuses,” said Mitchell. “I’ve been in the gym since before this fight was announced and was on schedule with my training and in fantastic shape, but I was then hit by a virus that really knocked me back so I couldn’t train.

“I would not go into the ring knowing that I wasn’t 100 per cent fit, so I asked Frank for a slight delay.

“I’ll be fit and ready for July 16 and fans will see the best of Kevin Mitchell.”

Mitchell insists he is confident of denting Murray’s unbeaten record wherever the fight takes place, but it is a blow for his local supporters that they will have to make the long trek to Merseyside rather than the short trip to the ExCeL in Docklands.

The venue will give the Manchester fighter virtual home advantage in a battle that should set the winner up for a world title bid. The North v South encounter now features on a blockbuster bill headlined by Ricky Burns’ WBO world super-featherweight title defence against Mitchell’s former stablemate Nicky Cook.

Also on the Liverpool card is the explosive rematch between Tony Bellew and Ovill McKenzie for the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles, while Frankie Gavin defends his WBO Intercontinental belt against footballer-turned-boxer Curtis Woodhouse.

However, there is disappointment for local boxers Billy Joe Saunders, Billy Morgan and Eddie Hussein after the cancellation of the show at the ExCeL Arena.

They were due to appear on the undercard of Murray and Mitchell’s showdown, but with the switch to Liverpool a week later, the Docklands promotion is off.

Efforts were made for a last-minute switch of the complete undercard to another London venue this week with Saunders’ first title bid, a clash with Southern Area Middleweight Champion Gary Boulden, as the top liner.

However, there was not sufficient time to rearrange the bill and the cancellation was confirmed with ticket holders offered a refund.

Saunders must wait for his title chance and unbeaten Morgan stands by for the fourth fight of his pro campaign.


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