'I'm ready to rock 'n' roll'

Kevin 'The Hammer' Mitchell expects blood to be spilt when he takes on Michael 'The Gladiator' Katsidis for the Interim WBO world lightweight title at his beloved Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

Unbeaten Mitchell (31-0) goes into the biggest fight of his career brimming with confidence and safe in the knowledge that the whole East End will be backing him to beat his Australian opponent.

The pair met for the final time on Thursday afternoon, staring one another down and going toe-to-toe on the pitch ahead of what Mitchell expects to be a truly brutal bout.


"I'm ready to rock 'n' roll. I've got my game-face on now. I've done all the hard work, got my weight right and I just want to get the fight on with now. It's just a case of getting my mind right now. I've been keeping it right, and my weight right, during my training so I just want to get the weigh-in done now and get on with it.

"It's definitely not going to go 12 rounds. There's definitely going to be a knockout. There will be blood everywhere!"

Katsidis (26-2) is well-known for his all-action style, has knocked out 21 of his 28 opponents and has never boxed the full 12 rounds in any of his professional fights.

Despite that record, the 29-year-old refused to predict that Saturday's bout would end early.

Kevin Mitchell

"I don't know. I gave up the fortune telling when I was about ten-years-old. He's been saying a lot of things, but I don't disrespect any fighter. I'm looking forward to a great fight. Everyone is going to see a great fight, which is what happens every time I fight.

"It may go 12 rounds, or it may not. I've just prepared for whatever. I'm ready to feel good on the night. We feel very confident and they feel very confident, so it's going to be a fantastic fight.

"It's a pre-requisite that everyone is in 100 per cent physical condition, but mentally is most of the game now leading up to it. There is a lot of pressure here, so who knows which way it's going to flow. I can't put any predictions down, other than it's going to be one hell of a fight."

While Mitchell is guaranteed hometown support from thousands of London fight fans - including Hammers pair Mark Noble and James Tomkins - the experienced Katsidis will not be intimidated by either the coldness of the East End welcome, or the weather.

"The whole area is going mad," said Mitchell. "I think Dagenham is going to be empty on Saturday night. The whole of the East End is going to be in this arena. It's going to be pretty crazy, I think, but it's nice to know that everyone is backing me. That'll push me even more. I think there will be between 20 and 25,000 people here and they're all going to be with me."

"It already something special," agreed Katsidis. "This is already a memorable moment in my life. I won the title here in England against Graham Earl at Wembley in 2007 and I'm here to defend it - and what a great place to defend it.

"There are going to be so many passionate people in West Ham's stadium and it doesn't matter who they're going to be cheering for. It's just a great thing. The culture and combining the boxing with the soccer is special and I'm really looking forward to the night.

"I don't think the weather will be a problem, it won't be a problem. When the adrenaline kicks in, nothing is a problem. I enjoy that part, so I'm prepared."

More than 20,000 fans are expected at the Boleyn Ground for Saturday's 'Hammer Time' show, which will also feature a mouth-watering British heavyweight title fight between Danny Williams and Derek Chisora, as well as 2008 Olympians James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders.