By James McKnight @JamesMcKnight83
Michigan’s Johnathon Banks and Virginia’s Seth ‘Mayhem’ Mitchell are set to clash for a second time on Saturday, 22 June, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It is fair to say that their rematch has dropped off the radar due to the feature bout of the night between Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi being so highly anticipated. Banks and Mitchell though have plans of their own, which could see one of them steal the headlines of Sunday morning’s back pages.
Banks and Mitchell are not the most well known American heavyweight fighters out there, but they are both contenders in the heavyweight division. This rematch has been on and off over the past months and was actually meant to take place on February 16 this year, on the undercard of Broner versus Gavin Rees. Due to Mitchell injuring his hand though and complications over negotiations it fell through.
Banks (29-1-1, 19 KO’s), fought as a cruiserweight during the early stages of his career and suffered just one defeat. He met Tomasz Adamek in 2009 but was stopped during the 8th round. Banks was knocked to the canvas and under a barrage of power shots from Adamek before the referee intervened. As a heavyweight however, Banks is undefeated. He has beaten the likes of Travis Walker, Jason Gavern and Nicola Firtha, who are not considered serious contenders but just below World level.
Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KO’s), is a former American football player and prior to 2006 had never stepped inside a boxing ring. He progressed quickly though as a boxer and it didn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the boxing public. Mitchell’s most notable victories to date came against Timur Ibragimov in 2011 and Chazz Witherspoon in 2012. Ibragimov had never been stopped before in 34 contests leading up to the fight with Mitchell. However, Ibragimov was blasted out in just 2 rounds. Against Witherspoon, who is seen as a gatekeeper for World level, Mitchell was dropped and in deep waters early on. Mitchell, though, survived and his power got him through in 3 rounds.
Banks and Mitchell met last November, in what was classed as a WBC semi-final eliminator. Mitchell went into the contest as the favourite as he was considered a major prospect at that time. The script wasn’t read though. Mitchell crumbled at the hands of Banks who stunned Mitchell by knocking him down three times en route to a 3rd round TKO victory.
Banks, 30, knows now that he can hurt Mitchell. We could see a repeat of what happened in their first meeting. Banks has gone the 12 round distance a total of five times before. This would suggest that the longer this rematch goes on for the more it suits him. This is not always the case though.
Mitchell, 31, is after revenge and aiming to climb the rankings once again. He is vulnerable though as his chin has been exposed. He has explosive power and he is dangerous and this makes him exciting to watch. Mitchell’s power could prove the difference this time round. However, he has never been past 8 rounds, so it will be interesting to see how he copes if this was to go past that many rounds. I think it’s fair to say that this is a must win fight for Mitchell.
Banks will be determined to prove that it was no fluke the first time round and intent on defeating Mitchell for a second time. If he wins then his stock rises that bit more and he will be a step closer to a possible World title shot. That shot could come against Wladimir Klitschko. What would make that fight interesting is that Banks is Wladimir’s trainer. But, would that fight get made? If it was to then would we witness something different from an opponent of Wladimir’s? Seeing as Banks trains him he must know some of his weaknesses. But, knowing somebody's weaknesses and actually being able to exploit them are two different things.
Whatever happens you can guarantee that Banks-Mitchell 2 will be exciting. It may not last very long again so don’t rush off anywhere and miss it. I’m banking on we see some mayhem!