Former two time World Champion Byron Mitchell has promised to end the hype surrounding unbeaten Cork based Cuban Luis "El León" Garcia when they meet at The University Arena in Limerick on November 6th on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory.
The scheduled 10 round bout will be part of the undercard to Kiko “La Sensación” Martinez's European title defence against Limerick's own Willie “Big Bang” Casey.
Former World Junior amateur champion Garcia has streaked to 10 straight wins in the professional ranks but looks set for his stiffest test yet against Mitchell who was twice World Super Middleweight Champion and was famously the first man to floor Joe Calzaghe when they met in 2003. The 36-year-old American believes his experience at the highest level in the sport will simply prove too much for the 22-year-old Garcia.
"Garcia might have been a World Junior Champion in the amateur ranks but I've been a World Champion twice in the professional ranks and believe I can do so again.
"If you compare our records you will see that I have had almost as many World title fights (8) as he has had fights and I've had more than twice as many KO's (21) as he has had fights so how is he going to compete with that kind of experience? It will be the master against the student in there and he's going to have to learn the hard way!"
Mitchell's two reigns as World Champion lasted from 1999 – 2003. He put Calzaghe on the canvas for the first time ever in the second round of their encounter before being stopped himself by the Welshman in a defeat that clearly still rankles with him.
"I put Calzaghe on the floor and I'll do the same to Garcia but I will keep him there,” promised Mitchell. “That fight with Calzaghe should never have been stopped, the referee jumped in and stopped that fight for no reason, I was still punching back. I would have loved to have had a rematch with Joe but it never happened."
Contractual problems kept Mitchell out of the ring for almost 4 years following the loss to Calzaghe but he returned in 2007 in a bid to become a 3 time World Champion, an ambition that still burns within the Florida native. "I'm still only 36 so I definitely believe I can become a 3 time World Champion.
"Age is just a number and if you look at the Light Heavyweight division right now the top dog is Bernard Hopkins and he's 45 so the number one thing in boxing is experience. I have that experience at the highest level in the sport and Garcia doesn't and that will be the difference in Ireland next month."
Promoter Brian Peters believes that Garcia can make a big statement by beating Mitchell. “This is a big step up for Luis taking on a such a dangerous and experienced fighter,” said Peters. “Byron is a big puncher, obviously he proved it against Calzaghe but he's proved it throughout his career. His last win was another one punch KO over David Telesco, a man who went 12 rounds for the World title with a peak Roy Jones.
“I believe Luis is ready for a test like this though, in fact we also offered this fight to World rated guys like Otis Griffin and Yusef Mack and both of them are rumoured to be in line for possible World title shots before the end of the year so that is an indication of the confidence we have in Luis to deliver on the World stage.”
The Garcia – Mitchell fight is part of an action packed undercard on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory. Garcia's compatriot Alexei Collado also features as the unbeaten super bantamweight looks to extend his 100% stoppage record which currently stands at 13 fights, 13 wins and 13 KO's.
The event will see the return of Martin “Iron Man” Rogan as the inaugural Prizefighter Champion and former Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion steps back into the ring a year to the day from his last fight in Belfast having made a successful recovery from a career threatening neck injury.
European Number 1 Paul Hyland will also be in action in Limerick with the Dubliner now first in line to challenge the winner of the Martinez – Casey clash. An Irish title will also be up for grabs when Anthony Fitzgerald and Lee Murtagh finally look to get it on with Fitzgerald's Irish title at stake.
Limerick based Galwegian Alan Donnellan and exciting Dublin prospects Brendan Fitzpatrick and Gavin Prunty will also be in action while in another Ireland V Spain clash on the undercard Galway's Jon Fogg makes his pro debut against unbeaten Spanish cruiserweight and Kiko Martinez's training partner Ricky Pow.
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory priced from €40 are available from Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and all usual outlets.