By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
‘Mighty’ Kevin Mitchell made a welcome return to the ring on Friday night, when he took on Spain based Dominican Felix Lora in a ten round non-championship bout in front of a packed house at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
The Dagenham Destroyer seemed unfazed that the bout was touted as just a warm up bout, ahead of a summer showdown with WBO Lightweight World Champion Ricky Burns, as Mitchell seemed almost as fired up as he was when he faced John Murray back last year.
Whilst it wasn’t the liveliest of starts, as both fighters felt each other out, it soon livened up and see Mitchell using his incredibly accurate jab and superior movement to frustrate Lora.
Late on the raucous crowd jumped to their feet, as Lora fell to the canvas. The cheers faded as soon as they realized it was just a slip, but seconds later the crowd were back on their feet as Mitchell went straight back on the attack.
A much livelier start to the second round see Mitchell start to pressure Lora, picking him off with ease utilizing his jab and some powerful rights to the body, and it wasn’t long before the big crowd were on their feet cheering again, as again Lora made a visit to the canvas, this time it was the real deal.
Lora had started to apply some pressure of his own, Mitchell used his excellent movement to avoid everything Lora threw at him before letting rip with a wickedly quick and accurate countering left.
After the count Mitchell went straight on the attack in a very controlled way, Lora used his head and grabbed hold of the advancing Mitchell. Once his head had cleared Lora tried to keep Mitchell on the backfoot, however Mitchell with his back to the rope proves to an extremely elusive target.
For the next few rounds Mitchell produced a boxing masterclass par excellence, easily controlling the rounds using his world class ring craft. Just as comfortable on the backfoot as he is on the attack Mitchell would pick off Lora, with sharp jabs, lightning fast one twos and uppercuts, at will each time the Dominican came in range.
Lora was fired up big time when he came out for the fifth, he was angry and full of vengeful intention. Virtually every punch the Dominican threw was fully loaded, however whilst he had Mitchell on the back foot and defending, the Dagenham man’s ring craft is honed to perfection.
Just as in the Murray fight, Mitchell backed on the rope is an elusive target, virtually every exocet Lora fired was avoided with comparable ease, that is until the Dominican landed a peach that shook Mitchell. Lora then turned up the pressure but Mitchell is well savvy and boxed beautifully off the backfoot as Lora chased him around the ring.
Lora must have thought that another one his bombs had penetrated Mitchell’s excellent defense in the final seconds, as Mitchell went down, after slipping on water close to Lora’s corner.
It got a little heated as the round concluded, Mitchell and Lora stood their ground, squared up to one another and pushed their foreheads together in an old fashioned face off fashion until referee Richie Davis intervened and dispatched the pair to their respective corners.
Mitchell’s coach, Jimmy Tibbs, calmed his charge before start of the sixth, and normal service resumed. Mitchell again was in full control, utilizing his exquisite jab to control the next couple of rounds with ease.
Lora was again fired up at the start of the tenth and final round, going straight on the attack with massive exocets. Mitchell, again with his back to the ropes, avoided the Dominican’s big overhand rights with ease.
Mitchell then turned the tables on Lora in the final minute and let rip with a big right hand that had ‘lights out’ written all over it. In an instant Lora throws his arms around Mitchell to buy a few precious seconds in which to clear his head to enable him to see the round out.
No surprise Mitchell gets the nod from referee Richie Davies, quite rightly, by a 98-92 points margin.
Word is ‘Mighty’ Mitchell will do one more warm up bout before facing Ricky Burns at Upton Park in the Summer. Taking it on Friday’s performance I personally don’t think he needs it. Whilst yes he cruised his way through big parts of the bout, he also showed that he could step things up whenever he needed to and his defensive ringcraft was faultless throughout. It was a five star performance by Dagenham’s finest, even without the incentive of adding another belt to his collection.
Preceding Mitchell-Lora see Penge’s ‘Super’ Bradley Skeete easily outclass Hungarian challenger Laszlo Komjathi in an eight rounder.
As with Mitchell, Skeete put on a masterclass display to easily out point Komjathi, who has previously fought such stalwarts as Giuseppi Lauri, Michael Jennings, Rafal Jackiewicz, Marcos Maidana and Andriy Kotelnik.
Komjathi likes to box of the front foot, which played into Skeete’s hands as he could pick off the Hungarian at will, with stiff jabs and three punch combinations, each time he came in range.
Routine stuff for the first couple of rounds, but come the third Skeete took the fight to Komjathi, making life very uncomfortable for the Hungarian after forcing him onto the back foot.
Skeete was in a groove, letting rip with all manner of tasty shots, and around the midway point of the third a cracking combo, finished off with a right to the jaw see Komjathi’s legs go to jelly, whilst he didn’t actually go down his gloves touched the canvas and earned him a standing count.
Surprisingly Skeete didn’t go in hard and fast to finish the Hungarian off, but seemed content to showcase his skills for the adoring fans.
Komjathi was back on the front foot for the next couple of rounds, however Skeete remained unfazed and seemed content to just parry and counter his ever forward coming opponent to easily secure the rounds.
Skeete went back on the offensive in the penultimate and final rounds, easily forcing his durable opponent onto the backfoot for large parts of each stanza. Skeete also seemed to be putting more power behind his punches, shaking his opponent on numerous occasions, as he cruised his way to a tidy 80-71 points victory.
Prior to Skeete-Komjathi, Kevin Mitchell’s big hitting TRAD TKO Gym mate Frankie Buglioni took on super tough Ryan Clark, from Lincolnshire.
Big ticket seller Buglioni entered the arena to a standing ovation from the massive crowd, who continued their chanting throughout the bout as the Enfield man started fast, looking for his third early stoppage finish in three outings.
Clark, normally a crowd pleasing battler himself, was taken aback by the constant wave after wave of heavy double handed attacks and instead of going toe to toe with the man that has stopped both previous opponents, Sabie Montieth and Paul Morby, inside the first round, went defensive and covered up for long periods of the early rounds.
Unpreturbed Buglioni just kept attacking at pace to totally dominate the first couple of rounds.
More of the same in the first half third. However, after made a trip to the canvas, deemed a slip, it was Buglioni who had his resolve tested for the first time since turning pro back in November last year. As Buglioni went on the attack yet again, Clark countered with cracking right hook. Clark went on the offensive following up with a succession of big overhand rights and lefts to the body.
Normal service resumed in the fourth and final round, with Buglioni comfortably back in the driving seat, keeping up the pressure on Clark until the final bell.
No surprise when referee Bob Williams raised Buglioni’s arm in victory, declaring him the winner by 40-36 points margin.
Former Amateur star Bradley Saunders made an impressive start to his professional career, by stopping Jason Nesbitt in the third round of their scheduled six rounder.
Right from the off Saunders showed his class, bombarding the body of the highly durable Birmingham journeyman. In the second Saunders mixed it up a bit, throwing slick uppercuts, seriously stiff jabs and soul destroying right crosses to the head.
Saunders reverted to the body in the third and it came as no surprise to anyone when Nesbitt appeared hurt, by a vicious shot to the solar plexus. In an instant Saunders moved in for the kill, the first shot misses and as he is just about to let rip with another big body shot referee Bob Williams steps in to stop the bout on the two minutes and fifty seven second mark.
Undefeated in five Billy Morgan, another of Kevin Mitchell’s TRAD TKO Gym mates, took on Gants Hill’s Dan Naylor in a six rounder.
Round one to five were Morgan all the way, throughout the rounds the Canning Town youngster produced yet another masterclass, thoroughly out boxing the game Naylor and showcasing his fully loaded arsenal of punches.
Naylor stepped up the pace in the final round, to gain some limited success, but not enough to deprive Morgan of a clear 60-55 points victory.
Prior to Morgan-Naylor yet another TRAD TKO Gym boxer, Gary Corcoran, made his second pro outing, against Tamworth’s Matt Seagrave.
Right from the off Corcoran dominated the proceedings, his slick, yet powerful boxing style was way too much for 57 fight veteran Seagrave, who had to resort to covering up for much of the fight as Corcoran fired salvo after salvo to his body and head.
It came as no surprise when referee Bob Williams called a halt to the proceedings in the third after a particularly vicious flurry of shots had clearly hurt the Tamworth man.
The opening fight of the night see yet another TRAD TKO based fighter Ediz ‘Eddy’ Hussein made his second pro outing, against Barking’s Marc Callaghan.
Ediz, who is trained by his father – former Commonwealth Light Welterweight Champion Mo Hussein, showed all the class of his illustrious father, easily controlling the bout form start to finish to earn a tidy 39-37 points victory.