Kevin Mitchell calls off European title shot and retires from boxing
By Isaac Robinson
Last Updated: 10/02/16 6:06pm
Kevin Mitchell has withdrawn from his European title bout and announced he is retiring from boxing with immediate effect.
The 31-year-old compiled a record of 39-4-KO29 and won the British and Commonwealth titles as a super-featherweight in 2008.
Mitchell told Sky Sports News HQ: "I've had a good think about it over the last week and I'm happily retired now. I was in the gym on Friday and I wasn't myself. I wasn't enjoying my bag work or my gym work.
"I came in to the gym on Monday and said to my trainer Tony Sims that I didn't fancy it and that I'm going to call it a day.
"I was on the punchbag and not enjoying it. Normally I love the punchbag but I really didn't have it in my heart any more to train and go at it.
Partying and training don't work together. The last two or three years, I worked on my career but if I could go back, that's something I would have done differently.
"I've been doing this 22 years and it's time to call it a day and start a new chapter in my life. As a young man, I lived a bit of a party lifestyle. Partying and training don't work together. The last two or three years, I worked on my career but if I could go back, that's something I would have done differently.
"I like to think I was an exciting fighter that gave the fans value for money. I don't think they make fighters like me anymore; fighters that put it all on the line every time they fight."
Mitchell has ambitions to stay in the sport as a trainer and added: "I can't wait to get my hands dirty working with Tony. He is an amazing man to be around and a bit like me, he's been through his ups and downs and made a great life.
"The gym is buzzing with some top talent and I am going to be helping him out and looking to pass on my experience."
Promoter Eddie Hearn said of Mitchell: "The fight against Linares was the stand out for me and without injury I believe Kevin would have become world champion that night. Kevin has been entirely dedicated to the sport under Tony Sims, my only regret is that we didn't all team up earlier in his career."
After winning the 2003 ABA featherweight title as an amateur (with a record of 45-5), 'Mighty' Mitchell turned professional that year at the age of 18 - delighting his home crowd in Dagenham on debut by taking less than a round to stop Stevie Quinn.
Earmarked by many - including former lightweight king Jim Watt - as a future world champion, Mitchell breezed through his first 25 bouts to earn a shot at British super-featherweight champion Carl Johanneson, enhancing his reputation with a thrilling ninth-round stoppage.
Four fights later, Mitchell stepped in with dangerous Colombian Breidis Prescott, who had shattered the unbeaten record of Amir Khan the previous year. Mitchell recorded a comfortable points victory to set him on the way to a clash with Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim world lightweight title.
Although boxing at the home of his beloved West Ham, a 25-year-old Mitchell proved no match for the Australian, who recorded an emphatic third-round stoppage to silence Upton Park and signal the beginning of a 14-month hiatus for Mitchell.
On his return in July 2011, the Londoner retained a WBO ranking by upsetting the odds and stunning domestic rival John Murray with a fantastic eighth-round stoppage in Liverpool; helping set up a tilt at Scotland's world champion Ricky Burns in the process.
The pair, who are now friends and sparring partners, met in Glasgow on September 22, 2012 with Burns retaining his title courtesy of a fourth-round stoppage. Another break - this time of 10 months - followed before Mitchell returned once more with a quartet of routine victories.
He fought Ghislain Maduma in an IBF eliminator at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2014 on the Carl Froch v George Groves II undercard but although he managed a stoppage in the penultimate round, his breach of the overnight weight gain rules denied him the position of mandatory challenger.
In January 2015, Mitchell switched his attention to the WBC and with one of the most assured performances of his career, broke down highly-rated Mexican Daniel Estrada over eight rounds at London's O2 to book his second shot at a world title.
WBC world champion Jorge Linares came to The O2 to defend his title against Mitchell on May 30, 2015. In arguably the fight of the year, Mitchell dropped the Venezuelan in the fifth round only to suffer a horrific cut and be knocked down and stopped in the 10th round.
Mitchell's final bout came at The O2 on December 12, 2015 when he was halted in the fifth round by another Venezuelan, Ismael Barroso, with the WBA interim world lightweight title on the line.
Over the course of his career, Mitchell was trained by the likes of Tony Sims, Mark and Jimmy Tibbs, Paul Cook and Gary Logan.