Joshua vs Whyte: Kevin Mitchell warns Ismael Barroso of his power
By Isaac Robinson
Last Updated: 11/12/15 6:50pm
Kevin Mitchell is determined to tee up world title bouts in 2016 by dealing with Ismael Barroso "in a mean fashion" at The O2 on Saturday.
In May, Mitchell (39-3-KO29) was stopped on cuts by WBC world champion Jorge Linares when ahead on the scorecards - and highlights the superior quality of his previous opposition when insisting the power of Barroso (18-0-2-KO17) holds no fear for him.
The 31-year-old east Londoner told Sky Sports: "He's got a punch but you're alright being a puncher against the opponents he's been in with. When you're against world class opposition it's different. I've knocked world class opposition out.
"The best in the division - Linares - I nearly chinned him. Everyone knows I should be champion. I've banged out some world class fighters I don't think any of them hit harder than Breidis Prescott anyway.
I'm not a 25-year-old kid who's been out on the booze for four or five months. I train differently, live differently and you'll see me deal with Barroso in a mean fashion.
"If Ismael Barroso catches me, I'll deal with it. I'm 31 and a strong, tough man now. I'm not a 25-year-old kid who's been out on the booze for four or five months. I train differently, live differently and you'll see me deal with Barroso in a mean fashion.
"I was half-playing the sport before. I wasn't 100% a full-time boxer. I was going out and having a laugh, drinking too much and trying to be a boxer along with it. It never mixed. This time around, I've lived it for the last two years and it's paying off."
With Anthony Crolla and Terry Flanagan having already brought world lightweight titles to Britain, the division can look ahead to a vintage year - but Mitchell foresees the biggest threat coming from elsewhere.
He added: "I think Luke Campbell will take over next. I think he's the next big things. I think the fight fans want to see him in testing fights and when they do, they'll see him get the job done early. He's got it for me.
"Terry Flanagan is a good fighter but he doesn't sell tickets. I'm not being rude to him but nobody knows him. I sell out arenas. If you put me and Linares back in there after I beat Anthony Crolla, it will sell a football stadium out. What does Flanagan to the table other than a belt?
"I want the biggest names in the weight division. What generates interest for me and motivates me is getting back in with Linares. I don't run before I can walk but ideally I'll beat Barroso, then Crolla, then Linares and I'll have two belts around my waist."
Watch Mitchell vs Barroso on Joshua vs Whyte, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office, December 12, now available to order via your Sky remote or online.