Undefeated heavyweight contender and former Michigan State University Spartan Seth Mitchell will face the biggest test of his boxing career when he faces Emanuel Steward protégé Johnathon Banks on Nov. 17.
The Golden Boy Promotions fight card will be the first in Atlantic City since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the city more than a week ago.
This also will be the first fight for Banks (28-1-1, 19 KOs) since the untimely passing of his trainer and mentor Emanuel Steward.
“Naturally it probably is going to give him some more motivation or some added motivation and that just makes for a great fight,” Mitchell said Wednesday at his open workout for the media.
“I expected to have the best Johnathon Banks come November 17 before the unfortunate passing of Emanuel Steward, but I am going to be ready. You know I am after something and he’s next in line—he’s in the way.”
While Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) believes his opponent will be more motivated, he doesn’t think it will be enough to stop him from reaching his ultimate goal of remaining undefeated and eventually getting his shot at the heavyweight title.
“Whatever he brings to the table, I’ll be ready for,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell also believes that maintaining his undefeated record is the means to keeping the buzz around him going and that winning fights by knockout is key to his popularity.
Boxing fans can be a fickle bunch, and even just one loss can be the difference in the minds of many fans.
“I try to keep everything in perspective and I know I got to continue to do what I am doing,” Mitchell said. “I have to continue to win and not only continue to win but I have to continue to look impressive.
“If I was 25-0-1 with 12 knockouts I probably wouldn’t be on HBO—it’s because I have 19 knockouts and I let my hands go and put my punches together.”
Having started boxing at the age of 24, it is truly remarkable what the former linebacker has accomplished in such a short period of time. Mitchell feels that he will be ready for the biggest prize in all of sports in the not-so-distant future.
“I truly believe that in the latter part of 2013 I will be ready for my opportunity to fight for the title,” he said.
Including the fight with Banks, the Brandywine, Md. fighter “truly believes” he is just three or four fights away from being ready for either Klitschko brother.
Mitchell said he has received a lot of support from the fans through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
“It makes me feel good but at the same time I keep tunnel vision and know that I got to continue to win,” Mitchell said.
“I just continue to work hard, stay humble and don’t get the big head and just go out there and work.”
Michael Walters is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.