Until recently, Kevin "The Hammer" Mitchell (35-2, 25 KO) thought he was going to take on 39-year-old Italian Brunet Zamora on Saturday, Dec. 14. However, per Matchroom Boxing, Zamora was unable to obtain clearance to leave Italy.
.@kevinmitchell6 will now defend his IBF Inter-Continental title against Karim El Ouazghari on Sat. Brunet Zamora was denied exit from Italy— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 12, 2013
Thus, 33-year-old Spaniard Karim "El Diablo" El Ouazghari (15-3-2, 4 KO) is taking his place in the lightweight clash for the IBF Inter-Continental lightweight title in London. Mitchell is looking to ascend back up the ranks to earn another world title shot. Per Nick Parkinson of The Daily Star, Mitchell is eyeing a shot at IBF champion, Miguel Vazquez.
In Sept. 2012, he was stopped in the fourth round by WBO lightweight champion, Ricky Burns. If he has any realistic hopes of earning another opportunity at substantial gold, he must defeat El Ouazghari.
If you want to see the Mitchell vs. El Ouazghari clash, here's how you can watch.
When: Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m EST
Where: ExCel Arena in London
TV: Sky Sports
The Book on Mitchell and El Ouazghari
A Must-Win Situation
Before Zamora was ruled out of the fight with Mitchell, the latter was quoted by Parkinson as saying: "If I can't get guys like him out the way, what else can I do?”
Considering El Ouazghari is even less heralded than Zamora, the theme of his quote is perhaps even more true. Mitchell's opponent isn't nearly as experienced, and his KO total would lead you to believe he won't offer much in the way of power.
If Mitchell can't beat El Ouazghari, it will be hard to find anyone who believes he's still a serious contender.
I can't lie, I've seen El Ouazghari fight twice. I watched those fights Thursday in preparation for this preview. He has rarely fought outside of Spain; when he has, the results haven't been favorable for him. In his last bout, he lost a bid to win the WBO European light welterweight title in the Ukraine. He was easily outboxed by Serhiy Fedchenko, but El Ouazghari was moving up five pounds in that bout.
Overall, he's 1-2 in bouts fought outside of his country.
This fight could represent an even bigger opportunity for him considering it is a fight in a weight class he's more comfortable in. Can he pull the upset and send Mitchell's career into a tailspin?
I like El Ouazghari's short and sharp body punching. He displayed it in his bout with Armando Candel in 2010 and sparingly against Fedchenko. He seemed a bit slow to get off against Fedchenko, perhaps the extra weight slowed him down a bit.
If he can get in body work early, he could make the fight interesting, but his lack of power will make it very difficult to keep an aggressive Mitchell at bay.
The Hammer needs to make a statement, and he'll come out looking to use this fight as a showcase. Ultimately, his power punching will spell the end of the night for El Ouazghari. Mitchell stays on track for a possible title bout with Miguel Vazquez. He wins by fifth-round TKO.
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