By Johnny Walker
On the undercard of the Khan-Peterson bout last night, American heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell defeated Uzbek veteran Timur Ibragimov in surprisingly quick fashion, stopping him by TKO at 2:48 of round two.
A quick scan of various boxing boards shows that the Seth Mitchell bandwagon is now rolling full steam with many new passengers. But this writer, while recognizing the significance of Mitchell’s win, is not ready to hand him the heavyweight crown just yet.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos
For one thing, Ibragimov (30-4-1, 16 KOs) had been out of action for over a year due to an Achilles injury, and it showed in a tentative performance. Sparring and working out in the gym are no substitute for actual fights, and it might have been better for Timur if he had an easier warm-up bout before getting in the ring with Mitchell, the new American heavyweight hope. When Mitchell turned up the heat after buzzing Ibragimov with a hard left hook, the Uzbek fighter was unprepared and unable to properly tie the American up.
Even while looking rusty, however, for the first round-and-a-half, Ibragimov hit Mitchell with power shots, especially straight right hands, with relative ease. Had “Mayhem” been fighting someone with more pop than Ibragimov, he might have been in big trouble.
The ending of the fight, while not outrageous, certainly was questionable, and brought to mind Tyson Fury’s recent premature stoppage win over the game Canadian heavyweight champ, Neven Pajkic. Ibragimov has proven to be very resilient and sturdy throughout his career, yet referee Malik Waleed didn’t allow him to get to end of the round two, with only 12 seconds remaining, instead handing Mitchell a TKO win after the American landed three consecutive right hands.
Given the Uzbek’s history of possessing a solid chin, it is a virtual certainty he could have lasted to the end of the round, where he would have had a chance to recover after being buzzed by Mitchell’s power shots. Ibragimov’s strategy had been to drag Mitchell into deep waters, as the American had never fought past round six in his career. But the referee made sure there was no chance of that happening.
All that being said, it was a nice performance from Mitchell (24-0-1, 18 KOs), who showed the mental toughness to handle a big step up in opposition. And it’s great to see an American heavyweight come into the ring in tip-top shape. Mitchell also appears to be a very nice guy, a humble fighter who is looking to constantly improve, so he will be a boon to the sport, especially in America, if he continues to be successful.
But anyone who jumps aboard the Seth Mitchell Express because of this victory does so at his own risk. It’s a long way from Timur Ibragimov to the Klitschko brothers, with many speed bumps along the way – speed bumps named Arreola, Fury, Chisora, Helenius, Chambers. When Seth Mitchell has conquered a few of these names, then and only then can we anoint him a future heavyweight star.