Banks-Mitchell battle it out in rematch on February 16th; Ogogo
By Chip Mitchell: Boxing history is packed full of bizarre characters, and the heavyweights are no exception. History shows us that fans have a love affair with off-the-wall fighters who reside in the Big Man’s division. The stranger the fighter, the more we seem to gravitate towards him. Whether it was Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Sonny Liston, or Jack ‘I can’t… I can’t… but I can…’ Dempsey, our lust for more drama has helped generate an abundance of cable subscriptions and sell numerous PPVs.
Well, how about those heavyweights with little or no drama in their lives? How come nobody gravitates toward the good guys? On February 16, two of boxing’s good guys step into the ring for a rematch as Johnathon “Mr.” Banks and Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell dance once again.
Some readers of this piece may or may not know who Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks are and if you consider yourselves boxing fans, shame on you. I’ll try to educate you about two of boxing’s good guys. In these days and times, we need stories of a few good men in the world of sports.
Introducing… Seth Mitchell
Seth Mitchell was born in Brandywine, Maryland and attended Gwynn Park High School where he played both football and basketball. He earned a football scholarship to attend Michigan State University. He once collected 17 tackles while playing against Ohio State University. Seth injured his knee and had to give up on his professional football dream. However, after seeing a former college opponent win his boxing debut, Seth became motivated to try his hand at boxing.
Incredibly, Seth worked his way up the heavyweight rankings with very little experience. He learned on the go and each fight has worked out to be equivalent to the amateur experience he never had. Seth was fast-tracked, yet moved at a pace that was not too overwhelming. He entered the fight with Banks at 25-0-1. He is one of the top American heavyweights in boxing.
However, the real story of Seth, in my opinion, is of a good family man- a man who is using the boxing platform to support his wife and save money for his children’s education. I’ve been in Seth’s presence numerous times and I’ve also seen him on television. As aggressive as he was on the football field, he always talks about the discipline that boxing brings. You always see a low key guy who seems more concerned with things such as integrity and morality. Seth serves as a role model for youths in the DMV (short for the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region in which he resides). Seth visits youngsters in boxing gyms and clubs in the area and motivates them to keep reaching for their goals. Each time he fights, folks can purchase tickets in the Seth Mitchell Section to join his fans in cheering him to victory. Those seats are usually packed and they remain that way for a reason. Seth truly represents a classy disposition each time you see him. He’s a true gentleman and, ironically, fought a guy named Chazz “The Gentleman” Witherspoon before he fought Banks. Chazz is another one of boxing’s good guys. We need more men like Seth Mitchell in our often troubled sport.
Introducing… Johnathon Banks
Johnathon Banks is from Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He began playing the piano as a young child, but boxing soon became his passion. His grandfather proved prophetic as he told Banks that he’d be a boxer one day. Banks was all of two weeks old at the time.
Unlike Mitchell, Banks had an extensive amateur career, becoming a three-time champion at 178 pounds. Banks began fighting in the famous Kronk gym in Detroit, under the watchful eye of the late trainer Emmanuel Steward. Steward thought so much of Johnathon that he named him as Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer before his death. Klitschko is the long reining heavyweight champion of the world and Steward could have chosen a seasoned trainer as his successor, even one from his own family. However, he chose Johnathon and I needed to find out why.
It turns out Johnathon is also a role model to many youths in the rough city of Detroit. I was recently on a conference call for the rematch and Banks had nothing but good things to say about his opponent. He continuously took his “hat off to Seth” throughout the call and it was almost as if he was thanking Seth for giving him another shot. He has promised to keep up the Kronk gym legacy set forth by Steward. The fight game needs more men like Johnathon Banks.
Boxing fans, please tune into the rematch between Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks in a few weeks. It will be the co-feature to Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees. Mitchell and Banks represent two positive role models stepping into the squared circle to face each other again. Make no mistake about the fight folks. Once the bell rings it will be business as usual. You will be treated to an entertaining fight between two young heavyweights. In their first encounter, they did what we all ask heavyweights to do. They punched! No grabbing and wrestling and holding. They fought like true heavyweights and I commend them both for such an act.
You will also be treated to two of boxing’s class acts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they shook hands after the fight, no matter the outcome. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they teamed up in the future to assist the young fighters of tomorrow. Gratitude to both of these gentlemen and Johnathon, we take our collective hats off to you and Seth. Best wishes to you both.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S ANTHONY OGOGO PRESS CONFERENCE IN LONDON TO OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE SIGNING WITH GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS & DISCUSS PROFESSIONAL CAREER
LONDON (January 16, 2013) – Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer hosted a press conference today at The Mayfair Hotel in London, England to officially announce the signing of 2012 British Olympic Bronze Medalist Anthony Ogogo to an exclusive promotional agreement. Media packed the room where Schaefer, Ogogo and Ogogo’s manager/agent Dean Baker (Head of Boxing at Wasserman Media Group) spoke about Anthony turning professional and his immediate and long-term future in the sport.
Anthony Ogogo, 2012 British Olympic Bronze Medalist
“I’m thrilled about turning professional. I can’t wait to get started. I knew Richard Schaefer was the guy that was going to help make my dreams come true. When we first met, we got along so well and I knew he shared my ambition to succeed.
“I want to be a superstar. I want to become the best British middleweight fighter of all time. I want to be knighted one day. I want to be ‘Sir Anthony.’ I know I have massive aspirations of what I want to be in my life and when I told Richard Schaefer, he said ‘OK, let’s do it.’
“I have already overcome a lot in my career with my shoulder injury and rehabilitation 18 months ago. Then my mom became seriously ill and I left to go to her side. I was in so much pain before the Olympics, but I did what I had to do. I was determined to win in spite of it all.
“I believe in my talents and in the people sitting with me here today and I know I’ll become the best British middleweight of all time.
“By signing with Golden Boy Promotions, it opens so many doors. I will have opportunities to fight all over the world on big cards, on big networks and train with top athletes. I look forward to going to train with guys like Golden Boy’s Middleweight World Champion Peter Quillin and sparring in Los Angeles and all over the world, but I will keep my main headquarters in England.
“I don’t think all of this will seem real until I’m walking up the steps to the ring on fight night. I know I have what it takes to succeed as a professional fighter. I’m athletic, I have fast hands, good foot work and my strength of character is different than other people. I went through a lot personally during the Olympics, but I was able to move past my personal problems and still win the Bronze Medal for the United Kingdom. It is that unique ability inside me that I know will help me as a professional fighter.”
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“I feel like we have something very special with Anthony Ogogo. He is already a star in the United Kingdom and we are going to make him a crossover superstar in the United States too.
“He’s a very special talent, well-spoken, clean cut, charismatic and a great fighter. If you have the right talent and charisma like Anthony has, the sky is the limit.
“Our goal is to have him fight regularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. We want him to fight four times in each country, eight times a year.
“We want to take him from his first fight to a world championship and make him the best in boxing. Our goal is to make him a world champion like we have with Adrien Broner and Abner Mares.”
“We are hoping he can make his professional debut at the end of April or beginning of May, but we’re not sure if it will be in the United Kingdom or United States.
Dean Baker, Ogogo’s Manager/Agent, Head of Wasserman Media Group:
“We want to thank Richard Schaefer, Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions for sharing our vision for Anthony and his future. We are all on board to make him a crossover superstar and are excited about his future.
“I’ve known Anthony for a long time and he is one of the most charismatic, charming and talented guys I’ve ever met.”
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